“Stripper Visa” Abolished…Is It Enough?

gogo.jpgREED applauds the recent decision by Diane Finlay to abolish Canada’s controversial “stripper visa.” This visa has been used as an instrument of sexual exploitation and certainly has put women in extremely vulnerable situations. That said, we think that there are some real gaps in her attempt to address human trafficking.

Legislative change is needed that would provide more protection for victims of trafficking who find themselves in Canada. Provisions in the law now serve only to criminalize trafficking and promote the detention of trafficked persons. We support explicit changes that would make it a priority to protect the human rights of trafficked persons in Canada.

The rules for how trafficked persons can seek temporary residence in Canada are of limited use. For one thing, applicants have to meet a high standard to prove they are indeed a victim of trafficking. And they are obliged to talk to law enforcement officials as part of the process of being allowed to remain, something the council fears would deter many from even coming forward.

While we certainly do support the abolition of the “stripper visa,” REED calls on Finlay to do more to protect those who are vulnerable to human trafficking. Many who are trafficked have no other means to migrate. Canada’s immigration process is based on a point system that holds an inherent bias towards those who are privileged, and it is particularly stacked against women. Additionally, Canada has been criticized for its agonizingly slow process for dealing with requests for resettlement to Canada by vulnerable people. These tight-fisted immigration policies leave marginalized women even more susceptible to the deceptive schemes of traffickers.

Clearly there is more that our government can be doing to address human trafficking.


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