/Scott reintroduces human trafficking bill 

Scott reintroduces human trafficking bill 

By Chad Ingram

Published Sept. 22 2016

Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Laurie Scott hasreintroduced her private member's bill taking aim at humantrafficking following the sudden prorogation of the Ontariolegislature earlier this month.

On Sept. 8 Premier Kathleen Wynneannounced the legislature would prorogue before resuming for thefall giving her Liberal government the opportunity to reset itspolitical agenda through a Throne Speech.

The prorogation of a legislature alsokills any bills that are making their way through the legislativeprocess.

Scott's bill which she calls the Saving the Girl Next Door Act received second reading inQueen's Park in February. For the the bill to become law it would'vehad to be called by the government then taken to committee forreview then return to the legislature for a third reading.

In late 2014 Scott who is the PC party’s critic for women’sissues spearheaded the creation of an all-party standing committeeon sexual violence and harassment on which she served as vice-chair.

An alarming finding in the committee’s final report which wasreleased last year was the frequency of  human trafficking –typically of young girls and women for sexual purposes – occurringin Ontario.

The bill is divided into three main sections.

The first part proclaims there should be a day of awareness forhuman trafficking as there seems to little public understanding as tothe severity of the problem.

The second suggests expanding current legislation and proposesthat protection orders be able to be taken out directly againsttraffickers. Similar to a restraining order a protection order wouldrequire a perpetrator stay away from a victim for a minimum of threeyears or face a penalty of $50000 two years in jail or both.

The second section of the bill also calls for a new tort to becreated allowing victims to go after traffickers for damages.

The third part of the bill requests that the current definition of“sexual offence” be expanded.

"It's clear this government is not serious about human sex trafficking legislation when they continue to drive the agenda for their own gain" Scott said in the legislature Sept. 21 criticizing the government for failing to pass legislation following the standing committee's report. "Frontline service providers and workers are exasperated that there is still nothing advancing the law to support them in fighting this horrific crime."