MP Viersen helps bring anti-slavery bill to Senate

Peace River – Westlock M.P. Arnold Viersen is the co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group to End Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.

SPN Staff

On Feb. 5, the All-Party Parliamentary Group to End Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking introduced the Modern Slavery Act in the Senate.

Peace River – Westlock M.P. Arnold Viersen is the co-chair of APPG.

“Modern day slavery and human trafficking exist in every country of the world including Canada,” he says in a Feb. 5 news release.

“With over 25 million people around the world trapped in modern day slavery, we have a responsibility to tackle the slavery in our communities and in our supply chains.”

Slavery isn’t just a national problem. Last July, the Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council held a human trafficking awareness workshop in Swan River First Nation, west of Slave Lake.

“Human trafficking is not only in the cities, it’s starting to hit home in rural areas,” said Sandra Willier, LSLIRC opioid awareness coordinator in an Aug. 7, 2019 article.

Jessica Brandon from The Action Coalition on Human Trafficking Alberta spoke at the meeting. At the time, 57 per cent of ACT clients were from Canada, with 22 per cent of that number from Indigenous communities.

“We realize that rural areas are also affected by human trafficking,” says Brandon.

“Modern slavery is deeply embedded in Canadian economic supply chains where it is out of sight from companies and consumers,” says the APPG media release. “If you have purchased shrimp, shopped for clothes, consumed chocolate, or bought products with lithium batteries then you may have inadvertently supported supply chains tainted with slavery.”

The Modern Slavery Act, tabled in the previous Parliament by MP McKay after an extensive parliamentary study on child labour in supply chains, requires companies to report on the measures they are taking to prevent and reduce forced labour or child labour in their supply chains, says the release.

“The Act will also allow for a prohibition on the importation of products that are produced wholly or in part by forced labour or child labour. The adoption of this legislation will help to implement Canada’s international commitment to slave-free supply chains and encourage companies to ensure their supply chains are transparent and free of goods produced by slavery if they wish to do business in Canada.”

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