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Welcome to The Future Group, a Canadian-based non-governmental organization dedicated to combating human trafficking and the child sex trade.


Globe and Mail Top Book of 2010

The Globe and Mail's annual review of the top 100 books of the year profiled Invisible Chains: Canada's Underground World of Human Trafficking, by Benjamin Perrin, co-founder of The Future Group. [Read More]

Government of Canada introduces the Preventing Trafficking, Abuse, and Exploitation of Vulnerable Immigrants Act

The Government of Canada today introduced legislation, the Preventing Trafficking, Abuse and Exploitation of Vulnerable Immigrants Act. The reintroduction of these important legislative amendments to Canada's immigration laws will help protect vulnerable foreign workers such as exotic dancers who could be victims of exploitation or human trafficking. [Read More]

Canada's First Statistics on Foreign Human Trafficking Victims

Benjamin Perrin, founder of The Future Group and UBC researcher, has compiled statistics on human trafficking says Canada must do more to help victims and bring traffickers to justice. Benjamin used documents obtained by access-to-information laws to identify 31 cases of human trafficking flagged by immigration officials between 2006 and 2008. The top-four sources of victims were Romania, the Philippines, Moldova and China. These are the first national statistics on international human trafficking to become available since Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) began flagging cases in its databases in May 2006, after introducing measures to protect foreign nationals exploited in the sex trade and in forced labour. At the same time, they are believed to only represent a fraction of the trafficking victims, who are typically brought to Canada to work in the sex trade or forced labour.

For additional media coverage related to this release, feel free to check out the following:

'Research finds 31 human trafficking cases over two years, no convictions', Canadian Press, October 28, 2008

'China tops human trafficking offenders' list in Canada', Suzanne Fournier, Canwest News Service, October, 28, 2008

'UBC Legal Expert Releases Canada’s First Stats on Foreign Human Trafficking Victims', University of British Columbia Media Release, October 28, 2008


Combating Human Trafficking: Co-Operating to Build Best Practices in BC and Beyond

The BC Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons will be holding it first conference on October 29th and 30th. The goal of the conference is to provide a forum for those focused on the issue of human trafficking to identify best practices, discuss challenges and increase knowledge in order to increase coordination and cooperation among stakeholders. The Future Group's own Benjamin Perrin will be acting as a presenter on Canadian Perspectives on Human Trafficking. Stay tuned for the developments from this conference.

'Conference Targets Human Trafficking', Kristen Thompson, Metro Vancouver, October 29, 2008 

In July 2007, the Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons (OCTIP) opened its doors in Victoria, BC to assume responsibility for the overall coordination of British Columbia's strategy to addres human trafficking.

The Calgary Herald Features The Future Group

A recent news article featured the issue of child sex tourism in a recent article. The piece discussed the issue in Cambodia, but brought light to the fact that many organizations, The Future Group included, continue to bring hope and a new future to victims of this crime. To check out this article, click on the following link:

"A Hotel with Heart and Soul", Michael Wuitchuk, Calgary Herald, October, 3, 2008


Report Finds Human Trafficking Risk at 2010 Olympics

The Future Group's 25-page report entitled Faster, Higher, Stronger: Preventing Human Trafficking at the 2010 Olympics outlines measures taken by host countries of recent international sporting events to prevent human trafficking, and makes recommendations in preparation for the 2010 Olympics.

The Future Group's Press Release: Report Finds Human Trafficking Risk at 2010 Olympics

"Faster, Higher, Stronger: Preventing Human Trafficking at the 2010 Olympics"

Media Coverage on the Issue of Child Sex Tourism
With the recent manhunt and subsequent arrest of a BC man in an overseas sex case, the spotlight has been put on the issue of child sex tourism. As such, The Future Group's founder, Benjamin Perrin, was looked to for his expertise, providing the public with insight on child sex tourism and related laws. It also drew eyes to another TFG project, YouWillBeCaught.com where the public can help combat child sex tourism and trafficking across the globe through the reporting of anonymous tips.
The following is a selection relevant articles:

Federal Government Moves to End Canada's Complicity in Human Trafficking
The Future Group commends the federal government for moving forward towards ensurin Canada is not a haven for human traffickers and the exploitation of women in the underground sex trade.
On May 16, 2007, Immigration Minister Diane Finley introduced an amendment to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) that would give authority to the Minister to instruct immigration officers to prevent women from being exploited through work permits as exotic dancers.


Canada's First Federal Budget Fighting Human Trafficking
The Future Group applauds Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, and Canada's New Government for making a historic first effort to devote funds to combating human trafficking in the country. Six million dollars in funding will allow concrete steps to be taken to begin to protect victims and prosecute offenders.
In delivering his budget speech to the House of Commons on March 19th, Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance said: "Mr. Speaker, I’ve spoken about building a better Canada and a stronger Canada. These alone are insufficient. We must also make Canada safer. Canada is admired the world over as a safe, law-abiding society. We must keep it that way. . . . We are also providing funding to protect our most precious asset—our children—from online sexual exploitation and to assist investigators in suspected cases of human trafficking."
BUDGET 2007 (excerpt)
Protecting Children From Sexual Exploitation
Children are Canada’s most precious asset but are also the most vulnerable members of society. All of our children deserve to feel safe and secure. As a nation, Canada has a responsibility to ensure that children are nurtured and well protected, especially from the most heinous of crimes, sexual exploitation and trafficking.
Canada has the laws in place to combat this problem. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police also houses two centres to protect children from on-line sexual exploitation and to assist investigators in suspected cases of human trafficking. For these tools to be truly effective in reducing the number of incidents of sexual exploitation and trafficking in children, resources must be available to increase the number of investigations and to successfully prosecute offenders.
Budget 2007 proposes to invest an additional $6 million per year for the protection of children. These funds will be allocated to strengthen current activities in combating the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children. The funding will ensure that those who commit these heinous offences are brought to justice. . . .
Canadians want to live in safe and secure communities. Budget 2007 proposes important measures to help prevent crime and ensure public safety, including: . . . $6 million a year to combat the sexual exploitation of children and human trafficking.


ANNOUNCEMENT: Winners of Inaugural Sevey-Rattan Freedom Award
The 2007 recipients of the annual award are the Hon. Monte Solberg, P.C., M.P., and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law Anti-Trafficking Working Group

The Future Group's Sevey-Rattan Freedom Award Backgrounder

The Future Group Applauds Report, "Turning Outrage into Action to Address Trafficking for the Purposes of Sexual Exploitation"
On February 27th, MPs tabled a parliamentary report from the Standing Committee on the Status of Women on human trafficking. This report, containing 33 recommendations, could be used as a base for a national strategy to combat trafficking in persons.
Related Media Coverage:
It must be noted that the motion to condemn human trafficking has been accepted in Parliament, recognized as the "dark underbelly" of global trade.


Canadian Charged in Cambodia on Attempted Rape
The Future Group recently received report of a Canadian allegedly sexually abusing a 13 year-old beggar in his apartment.
See the following for further details:

Canadian Charged with Attempted Rape of Girl, 13 - Saing Soenthrith and James Welsh, The Cambodia Daily,


The Future Group Applauds House of Commons Motion to Combat Human Trafficking
The Future Group applauds a landmark motion tabled on December 8th, 2006 in the House of Commons by Joy Smith, MP, calling on the federal government to adopt a comprehensive strategy to combat the trafficking of persons. Such a commitment is long overdue and urgently needed to head off the expected explosion of human trafficking in thelead up to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.


Presentation Made to the Standing Committee on the Status of Women on Pressing Need for Canada's Human Trafficking Repsonse
On November 21st, 2006, Ben Perrin, Advisor to Board of The Future Group sat as a witness to the Standing Committee of the Status of Women who is focussing their research on Human Trafficking. 
During his presentation and the question period, Ben spoke of how Canada has been playing catch up when it comes to combatting human trafficking and, made significant recommendations about the urgency for Canada to get back on track prior to the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

"Our country must turn the tide against this modern-day slave trade by 2010 at the latest," said Perrin. "The Vancouver Olympic Games need to be remembered for showcasing Canada’s best to the world, not as a flashpoint for the abuse of human trafficking victims."

"Olympics a Magnet for Sex Traffickers: Activists Warn of 'Explosion' of Illicit Trade in Women", Bruce Campion Smith - Toronto Star

Brief of The Future Group to Standing Committee on the Status of Women

Brief No. 2 of The Future Group: Recommendations on Proposal for National Rapporteur on Human Trafficking

Report on Cambodian Street-Based Child Exploitation Released
Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE) commissioned this report with the goal of providing further details on street based child exploitation in Cambodia (specifically profiling the areas of Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville) by focussing on the victims of this abuse. The report provides insight on which children are becoming victims and what factors influence their exposure street-based child exploitation.  Click on the following link to download the report.
Street-Based Child Exploitation in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville: A Profile of Victims

"Police Chief Jamie Graham will likely send one of the department's top sex crime investigators to Cambodia for up to three months to gather intelligence on Canadian pedophiles preying on children as young as five years old."  This reported by Mike Howell, with the Vancouver Courier, as the police chief recognizes the need for a move to track Canadian pedophiles oversees. The Chief's actions comes in response to information from Tom McCluskie, in charge of department's major crime section, who was in Cambodia in May to present an award to Cambodian National Police for their help in the prosecution of Donald Bakker.


Welcome Home to Treva Braun, Jessica Singer and Meera Bai and Congratulations on a Job Well Done.

The Future Group has created, facilitated, trained and supported a local communication and action network on the issue of child domestic workers in Cameroon.


The project, named "CDWatch", has been founded by TFG and four local partners - Association Enfants Jeunes et Avenir - (Yaounde), Africa Women's Association (Yaounde), Serve the Orphans Foundation (Yaounde and Ndu, NWP) and United Action for Children (Buea, SWP). The principal aim of the network throughout the pilot stage has been to prevent the trafficking and exploitation of child domestic workers through awareness-raising education, health sector training to identify and assist victims, and simple, logical child monitoring actions taken at the community level.

Toronto Star - Jul 2/06

Thomas S. Axworthy, chairman of the Centre for the Study of Democracy, Queen's University, and co-chairman of the Liberal Party Renewal Commission, acknowledged the need for Canada to become a leader on stopping sexual slavery, and encouraged national support for domestic NGOs like The Future Group focussed on combatting human trafficking.  This was communicated through a piece covering Germany's attractiveness to human traffickers, specifically in relation to the recent World Cup.



Canadian Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Monte Solberg delivered on a commitment to victims of human trafficking, in the wake of a study by The Future Group several weeks ago which singled out Canada for failing to meet its international obligations to protect victims.



International Attention for Study on Human Trafficking Victims

The Future Group's study entitled "Falling Short of the Mark" evaluates the record of various developed countries in protecting victims of human trafficking.  National and international media coverage provides reactions to it:


"We'll see what we can do to begin to fix the system so we're more responsive to these victims."

Monte Solberg, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (Canada)

- Reuters, 28 February 2006


"If we can learn from this report we should, because this is an international scourge."
Irwin Cotler, former Minister of Justice (Canada)

- Ottawa Sun, 2 March 2006


"We don't have a comprehensive system in place that is directed to victims."
Const. Norm Massie, RCMP's Human Trafficking Awareness Co-ordinator

- 24 Hours (Vancouver), 2 March 2006


"I am delighted to endorse the report by The Future Group."
Gregory Carlin, Director of the Irish Anti-Trafficking Coalition

- OneWorld (UK), 1 March 2006


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Craigslist Slammed on Front  Page of
The Province

The Province (BC)
December 8, 2010

Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson today criticised Craigslist for refusing to comply with a directive to remove erotic service ads from its website. [Read More]

B.C. man gets 11 years for child sex tourism

CBC News
July 28, 2010

Kenneth Klassen, 59, of Burnaby B.C. was sentenced Wednesday to 11 years in prison for committing sex tourism with children and importing child pornography [Read More]

The Misery of Male Slavery 

Subhatra Bhumiprabhas
The Nation (Thailand)
Mon, May 14, 2007
The nature of human trafficking

There are five elements to the internationally approved definition
- recruitment; false job offers, kidnapping or the purchase of human beings
- physical transportation of trafficked persons
- physical or psychological coercion and/or deception involved in offers of work
- exploitation of work done as a final objective
- absence of informed consent

Source: International Organisation for Migration (IOM)

Amid despair at the trafficking of women and children, men too are being treated as less than sub-human

The fight against human trafficking has for more than a decade tried to protect women and children, often forgetting that men, too, are victims of "new slavery".

Thailand remains one of the region's busiest human-trafficking centres.

The National Human Rights Commission has looked into the stories of some of these forgotten victims - male migrant workers not recognised as casualties of the trade.

The commission reports that between July 17 and July 19 of 2003, six fishing trawlers with about 100 crew sailed from Tha Chalom in Samut Sakhon province to fish Indonesian territorial waters. Most of the crew were migrant workers and four were younger than 16. None were allowed home leave for three years. The trawlers returned to Thailand in July last year.

Thirty-eight never returned, dying on the job. Two were buried on one of Indonesia's myriad islands and the rest unceremoniously dumped at sea. One more crewmember died shortly upon his return.

Others returned home seriously ill - emaciated, emotionally disturbed and unable to see, hear or walk properly.

A Samut Sakhon Hospital medical report diagnosed the men with serious vitamin deficiencies. They had suffered months without proper food or water, eating only fish.

None have been paid. Yet, they are not considered by law to be victims of human trafficking.

When they demanded compensation their "employers" claimed the men were unknown and said crew employment was the responsibility of trawler skippers. The boat owners refuse to pay until the men can prove they were aboard.

Complicating the issue is the registration of the men under Thai names. They are all Burmese, Mon and Karen migrant workers.

They discovered the labour law in this country does not cover fishermen working outside Thai territory for more than a year.

But, a new memorandum of understanding on Common Guidelines for Concerned Agencies Engaged in Human Trafficking and the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Bill are rays of hope. Men are covered by both documents.

The memorandum was signed last week and broadens the scope of a similar 2003 document. That included "children and women" only in its target groups.

Concerned agencies in 17 northern provinces signed it and it has now expanded to cover men.

The memorandum will bring Thailand and its Social Development and Human Security Ministry up to world standards of protection.

Thailand is regarded as a "country of origin, transit and destination" for trafficking victims.

The government announced in 2004 that combating the trade was a priority. It provided national mechanisms, Bt500 million in funding and operational centres to fight trafficking.

But, as its name suggests, the 1997 Prevention and Suppression of Women and Children Trafficking Act does not help men.

Trafficking goes beyond the sex industry and child labour and many cases involve men, Sub-Committee on Coordination for Combating Trafficking in Children and Women chairperson Saisuree Chutikul said.

The Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Bill is before the National Legislative Assembly.

"[In the draft] we changed the wording from "women and children" to "human trafficking" because we found trafficking involves male victims," Saisuree, one of the world's leading voices in the fight against the trade in people, said.

"I would like to congratulate the government on recent Cabinet approval of the amendment and look forward to a positive outcome in the legislative assembly," said UNICEF's Tomoo Hozumi.

"UNICEF is ready to support implementation once the legislation is enacted."

Nevertheless, women and children continue to be victims of trafficking, both within Thailand and abroad. While victims from this country are declining, people from Burma, Laos, Cambodia and China have replaced them.

Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai and Tak are transit destinations for these victims. More than 250 routes have been found in these provinces.

Last year in Chiang Mai alone 114 children and women victims were rescued. Almost all were from Burma, according to Rossukon Tariya of the human security ministry in Chiang Mai.

Note: The 17 northern provinces which signed the new memorandum are: Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Kamphaeng Phet, Lampang, Mae Hong Song, Nakhon Sawan, Nan, Phayao, Phetchabun, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phrae, Lampang, Lamphun, Sukhothai, Uttaradit and Uthai Thani.


The 21st-Century Slave Trade

April 22, 2007

The New York Times

Anyone who thinks that the word ''slavery'' is hyperbole when used to describe human trafficking today should meet Meena Khatun. She not only endured the unbearable, but has also shown that a slave trader's greed sometimes is no match for a mother's love.

Human trafficking is the big emerging human rights issue for the 21st century, but it's an awful term, a convoluted euphemism. As Meena's story underscores, the real issue is slavery.

Meena was kidnapped from her village in north India by a trafficker and eventually locked up in a 13-girl brothel in the town of Katihar. When she was perhaps 11 or 12 -- she remembers only that it was well before she had begun to menstruate -- the slaver locked her in a room with a white-haired customer who had bought her virginity. She cried and fought, so the mother and two sons who owned the brothel taught Meena a lesson.

''They beat me mercilessly, with a belt, sticks and iron rods,'' Meena recalled. Still, Meena resisted customers, despite fresh beatings and threats to cut her in pieces.

Finally, the brothel owners forced her to drink alcohol until she was drunk. When she passed out, they gave her to a customer.

When she woke up, Meena finally accepted her fate as a prostitute. ''I thought, 'Now I am ruined,' '' she remembered, ''so I gave in.''

Meena thus joined the ranks of some 10 million children prostituted around the world -- more are in India than in any other country. The brothels of India are the slave plantations of the 21st century.

Every night, Meena was forced to have sex with 10 to 25 customers. Meena's owners also wanted to breed her, as is common in Indian brothels. One purpose is to have boys to be laborers and girls to be prostitutes, and a second is to have hostages to force the mother to cooperate.

So Meena soon became pregnant. The resulting baby girl, Naina, was taken from Meena after birth, as was a son, Vivek, who was born a year later.

The two children were raised mostly apart from Meena. Meena alerted the police to her children's captivity (the police were uninterested), so her owners decided to kill her.

At that, Meena fled to a town several hours away and eventually married a pharmacist who protected her. Every few months, Meena would go back to the brothel and beg for her children.

She was never allowed inside, and the children were told that their mother had died. Still, Naina and Vivek regularly heard their mother's shouts and pleas and occasionally caught glimpses of her. Other enslaved girls told them that she was indeed their mother.

When Naina turned about 12, the brothel owners prepared to sell her as well. At that Vivek, who was being forced to do the brothel's laundry, protested vigorously. The owners beat Vivek, an extremely bright boy who was never allowed to go to school, but he continued to plead that his big sister not be sold. Finally, he escaped to search for his mother, in hopes that she could do something. Eventually, they found each other.

They received help from a terrific anti-trafficking organization called Apne Aap (www.apneaap.org), run by a former journalist named Ruchira Gupta. Ms. Gupta covered trafficking and was so horrified by what she found that she quit her job and devoted her life to fighting the brothel owners.

Ms. Gupta agitated for a police raid (apparently the first such raid on behalf of a trafficked mother ever in the state of Bihar) that rescued Naina last month. The girl, who is now about 13, is still recovering in a hospital from severe beatings and internal injuries.

The brothel is still operating, and the police have not arrested the main traffickers. But the brothel owners are threatening to kill Meena, her children and the Apne Aap staff, because they are potential witnesses in a criminal case against the traffickers. One Apne Aap staff member was stabbed a few days ago.

But whatever happens to Meena or Vivek, they are in the vanguard of a new global abolitionist movement. (Video of them and the brothels can be found on my blog, www.nytimes.com/ontheground.)

This is an issue crying out for world leaders -- and community groups -- to seize and run with. President Bush has pressed the issue more than his predecessors, but he could do much more. If a little boy like Vivek can stand up to modern slavers, why can't world leaders do the same?

UNIAP - United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region




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