The province wants to give police more power to access information in human trafficking investigations.
Proposed legislation called ‘the Combatting Human Trafficking Act’ was tabled on Monday.
It would allow officers to ask hotels to share information about guests if they believe it could help locate, identify or protect a suspected human trafficking victim.
The bill will also require companies that sell sexual services to publish their contact information and respond to law enforcement within a set time frame.
“Our government is taking deliberate steps to put an end to human trafficking and protect victims and potential victims of this terrible crime,” said Premier Doug Ford. “This tough new legislation builds on our Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy we introduced nearly a year ago, giving law enforcement additional tools to help prevent and deter human trafficking.”
The proposed changes include two new acts – the Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy Act, 2021 and the Accommodation Sector Registration of Guests Act, 2021 – as well as amendments to the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017 and the Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking Act, 2017. Together, the proposed changes would support the government’s response to human trafficking by:
- Supporting a long-term provincial response to human trafficking and emphasizing that all Ontarians have a role to play in combatting human trafficking;
- Strengthening the ability of children’s aid societies and law enforcement to protect exploited children;
- Supporting more survivors and the people who support them in obtaining restraining orders against traffickers, with specific consideration for Indigenous survivors;
- Increasing the government’s ability to collect non-personal data to better understand the impact of the strategy and respond to human trafficking;
- Providing law enforcement with more tools to locate victims and charge traffickers by:
- Increasing penalties for traffickers who interfere with a child in the care of a children’s aid society;
- Clarifying how and when police services can access information from hotel guest registries to help deter trafficking and identify and locate victims, while establishing regulation ma king authority to include other types of accommodation providers.
- Requiring companies that advertise sexual services to have a dedicated contact to support investigations into suspected human trafficking.