section 279.04(2)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

Factors to consider when determining if an accused person has exploited someone, include the use of force, deception or abuse of power, trust or authority.

SECTION WORDING

279.04(2) In determining whether an accused exploits another person under subsection (1), the Court may consider, among other factors, whether the accused (a) used or threatened to use force or another form of coercion; (b) used deception; or (c) abused a position of trust, power or authority.

EXPLANATION

Section 279.04(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada pertains to the offense of human trafficking. Specifically, it outlines the factors that a court may consider in determining whether an accused has exploited another person under subsection (1). This subsection 1 relates to situations where a person recruits, transports, transfers, harbors, or receives another person for the purpose of exploiting them. The exploitation may take the form of sexual exploitation or forced labor. Subsection (2) provides a non-exhaustive list of factors that the court may consider in determining whether the accused has exploited the victim. These factors include the use or threat of force or coercion, deception, and abuse of a position of trust, power, or authority. By providing these factors, the Criminal Code seeks to ensure that individuals who engage in human trafficking are prosecuted accordingly. The use or threat of force or coercion refers to situations where the accused used physical or violent means to force the victim to comply with their demands. It can also include situations where the accused uses non-physical means to exert control over the victim, such as threats to harm the victim's family or loved ones. Deception involves misleading the victim into a situation where they are exploited. This may include false promises or representations made by the accused in order to lure the victim into exploitation. Lastly, the abuse of a position of trust, power, or authority involves situations where the accused uses their position of power to exploit the victim. This may include situations where the accused is in a position of authority over the victim, such as an employer or caregiver, and uses this position to exploit them. Overall, section 279.04(2) seeks to ensure that individuals who engage in human trafficking are held accountable for their actions. By providing factors that the court may consider, the Criminal Code ensures that a wide range of situations can be considered as human trafficking, and that those responsible can be prosecuted accordingly.

COMMENTARY

Section 279.04(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada refers to the provision that pertains to the exploitation of another person in situations such as human trafficking, forced prostitution, or forced labour. This section of the Criminal Code gives the court the discretion to consider various factors in assessing whether or not the accused person has exploited another person, including the use of force or coercion, deception, or abuse of a position of trust, power, or authority. The use of force or coercion can be indicative of exploitation in these types of situations. For example, if a person uses threats of violence or harm to force another person into performing labour or engaging in prostitution, they are committing a crime under this section of the Criminal Code. Similarly, if an accused person uses deception to manipulate and exploit the vulnerable situation of another person, they are committing a crime. Examples of deception could include promising people a job or a better life in Canada in exchange for their services, only to exploit them for forced labour or prostitution. Perhaps one of the most alarming indicators of exploitation is an abuse of authority, trust, or power. In these instances, the accused uses their position of power in a relationship, such as a boss or landlord, to coerce or exploit another person. In situations of human trafficking, for example, often the trafficker will use their position of authority or friendship to build a relationship with the victim and to gain influence and control over them. The trafficker may use emotional blackmail or threats to keep the victim under their control. The inclusion of these factors in the Criminal Code provides essential safeguards for those who are most vulnerable to exploitation. It allows the court to take into account not only the actions of the accused person but also the impact that those actions have had on the victim. This section of the Code recognizes the arguments that advocates have been making for years - that ineffective legislation and law enforcement techniques have allowed people - particularly women and young girls - to fall prey to human traffickers and other forms of exploitation. It is clear that the issue of human trafficking and exploitation is one that requires a holistic approach. It is vital that policy-makers continue to work closely with NGOs, law enforcement agencies, and other stakeholders in implementing strategies to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable people. It is also essential that the judicial system continues to prosecute and hold accountable those who seek to profit through exploitation. The inclusion of Section 279.04(2) in the Criminal Code of Canada is, therefore, a small step towards that effort. Ultimately, however, the crucial work must continue to make Canada a place where everyone is safe and free from exploitation; where justice is done, and those who seek to exploit others are held accountable for their actions.

STRATEGY

Section 279.04(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important provision to consider when dealing with cases involving exploitation of another person. Exploitation is a serious criminal offense that involves taking advantage of another person's vulnerability for personal gain. It could take various forms such as sexual exploitation, forced labor, or trafficking in persons. Organizations, individuals, and the government can all apply a variety of strategies to deal with this offense. In this paper, we will explore some of the strategic considerations and tactics that could be employed to deal with this section of the Criminal Code of Canada. One important strategy is to provide public education about the offense of exploitation, its harms, and how to recognize it. Many cases of exploitation go unreported because victims do not believe that what is happening to them constitutes a criminal offense. For example, an individual who is forced to work in inhumane conditions may not realize that they are victims of exploitation. Educating the public about the signs of exploitation and the different forms it can take can increase public awareness of the issue. In turn, this could increase reporting of the crime and potentially lead to prosecution. Another strategic consideration is the importance of training law enforcement officials to identify and respond to cases of exploitation. Often, exploitation involves complex legal and social issues that require specialized training to effectively address. Law enforcement should be trained to recognize the indicators of exploitation, provide support and assistance to victims, investigate allegations, and charge offenders. With the proper training, police officers can more effectively combat this crime. Another strategy could be to encourage community participation in the fight against exploitation. Communities can play a significant role in identifying potential victims and supporting victims of exploitation. This could involve encouraging community members to report suspicious activity, providing counseling and assistance to victims, and partnering with organizations to increase awareness of the issue. Moreover, an important consideration is the need for effective collaboration and coordination between agencies and organizations with expertise in addressing exploitation. The government should facilitate collaborations between law enforcement, victim support services, community organizations, and other relevant bodies to ensure a comprehensive response to exploitation cases. Interdisciplinary coordination among these organizations would improve the effectiveness of the response to exploitation cases and provide more comprehensive support to victims. In addition, the government could undertake strategic policy initiatives to strengthen sentencing in exploitation cases. The Criminal Code of Canada permits judges to impose significant penalties on persons found guilty of exploitation offenses. Ensuring that penalties are severe would send a strong message to perpetrators and act as a deterrence. The government could also work to improve victim support, providing assistance to those who have suffered exploitation, to help them recover from the harms they have suffered. In conclusion, section 279.04(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides an important provision to prevent exploitation. By considering this provision along with other strategies discussed in this paper, it is possible to more effectively address exploitation cases. Improved recognition and support, collaboration, and policy initiatives are all part of an essential toolkit to combat exploitation and protect the most vulnerable among us.