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May 15, 2013 / Man in the Mirror

Calgary Herald: MP targets people who buy sex from minors

BY STEPHANE MASSINON, CALGARY HERALD

One of Canada’s leading voices against human trafficking says the next steps in the fight against the crime is to target the people who buy sex from minors.

Conservative MP Joy Smith was in Calgary on the weekend meeting with police and others who tackle human trafficking and said her next focus will be on the market: the people who knowingly pay for sex from a young victim.

She has already introduced two laws on human trafficking — one of which carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison for people convicted of trafficking a minor.

Last month, Calgary police announced that for the second time this year they have laid human trafficking charges, this time against two men alleged to have forced two girls, aged 17 and 19, into the sex trade.

In an interview with the Herald on Saturday, Smith said that just as previous laws have increased penalties against traffickers, she wants to target their customers.

“The people who traffic these young girls, if the market goes away, they have no money,” said Smith, who represents the riding of Kildonan-St. Paul in Manitoba.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service estimates a trafficker makes $280,000 per year per victim.

“I would like to put the focus on the buyers of sex,” she said.

Smith was in Calgary to visit the newly renamed Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre. She said the city has taken a leading stance against human trafficking and attributes that to strong collaboration.

“NGOs work together, police work together, the schools work with them and the corporate world is getting involved,” Smith said.

“People are getting schooled and they are understanding and they are saying, ‘not in my city.’ ”

smassinon@calgaryherald.com

© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/targets+people+from+minors/8341034/story.html#ixzz2TKtZ8C9S

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