“We want to make sure you aren’t a victim of fraud and we will work with you to find out what happened.”
The Canadian government will review its existing child exploitation policy to ensure children who are trafficked are not vulnerable to violence, poverty or abuse, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Tuesday.
Last December, the government announced it would no longer accept sponsorship applications from child sex tourists. It also announced it would set up a new panel of experts to improve the law and help victims with their applications.
The announcement came just days after Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Canada Border Services Agency and Citizenship and Immigration filed notices of intentions to revoke their sponsor licenses.
Kenney did not specify what action will be forthcoming.
“I’m making sure Canadians who are victims of child exploitation are not being overlooked simply because they’re not Canadian citizens,” he told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
In a letter sent to the minister, representatives for the provinces and territories urged Kenney to ensure no Canadian child is exploited.
“We know our children are being trafficked and exploited,” said Jean Larocque of the New Brunswick Women’s Foundation. “This must be addressed.”
The Canadian government has long been criticized for what critics describe as its failure to make changes to the child and family immigration system. Critics say the policy of leaving it to the provinces to decide whether they want to accept refugee sponsorship forms from child sex tourists does not work.
The New Brunswick Women’s Foundation is part of a project called “No More Cries”: Victims of Child Trafficking. That group has been investigating complaints of sex tourism from coast to coast.
“We know our children are being trafficked and exploited” said Jean Larocque of New Brunswick Women’s Foundation. “This must be addressed.”
The coalition of provincial and territorial organizations is calling for Kenney to change the child exploitation policy, calling for government agencies to report to the federal government what is being done to combat the problem.
The groups are asking for the creation of a centralized registry of trafficking victims so they can access services.
The report of the task force released in April urged the federal government to establish an online service for children to share information about their cases, particularly as they are being tried.
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