Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s executive committee will discuss a human-trafficking report next week.
The report, prepared by city staff and posted online on Tuesday, is one of more than a dozen items on the Feb. 5 agenda.
The report, requested by the committee last May, investigates human trafficking in Toronto. It recommends city officials collaborate with existing human trafficking committees co-ordinated by the federal and provincial governments. It also recommends Toronto design a program to inform, educate and train city staff on human trafficking, and that the city collect data about trafficking trends.
“There is an opportunity for the City of Toronto to work with other orders of government, community-based organizations, Toronto Police Service and several city divisions to identify the impact of human trafficking in Toronto,” the report says.
The report offers little in the way of new information about human trafficking, which it defines as “recruiting vulnerable persons for the purposes of transporting, transfer, harbouring, and/or controlling them to be engaged in forced labour, especially sex work, organ removal, or other forms of coercion for the purpose of exploitation.”
The report cites United Nations figures that put the global value of human trafficking at between $9-billion and $31-billion a year.
It also cites Statistics Canada data that say 34 of the 77 people charged with trafficking in this country between 2006 and 2011 were from the Toronto census metropolitan area.
The executive committee had asked staff to explore a policy to prohibit city advertising in publications that allow ads that could contribute to human trafficking – such as newspapers that run ads from escort agencies.
“The formulation of any policy prohibiting the City of Toronto from advertising in publications which could be perceived as contributing to human trafficking would require a thorough review to confirm whether these publications do indeed contribute to human trafficking,” the report says. “Such a policy would also have an impact on the City of Toronto Advertising Policy, adopted by council in July, 2001.”
Councillor Paul Ainslie, a member of the committee, said on Tuesday that the city should not invest in publications that run such ads.
“Either directly or indirectly, I don’t think we should be putting our advertising revenue into publications that are supporting activities that I think a lot of people frown on on moral grounds,” he said.