Prairies REVP Marianne Hladun wrote a letter to Saskatoon-Humboldt MP Brad Trost regarding the Conservative government's conflicting actions around human trafficking.
Dear Mr. Trost:
On June 2nd, I had the opportunity to talk with you following the performance of She Has a Name and post-show panel in Saskatoon. At the time, I expressed my concern with your government's position on human trafficking, which conflicts with your actions given the announcements of extensive cuts to CBSA. In the Prairies, CBSA plans to cut 4 Intelligence Officer positions.
The role of the Intelligence Officer is to offer support for front line officers or other law enforcement agencies by gathering information from various sources. This information targets high-risk travellers' goods and people entering Canada. The Intelligence Officers in the Prairies are working on files from general smuggling up to organized crime, human smuggling and terrorism.
The elimination of these positions will greatly affect security. Without intelligence leading border policing, the agency becomes reactive instead of proactive. This could result in longer wait times at ports of entry as a best-case scenario, or, as a worst-case scenario, the admission of goods or people meant to do harm to Canadian people.
Despite the Intelligence section in Saskatchewan being one of the largest geographical areas per officer in Canada, these Officers have made incredible gains and work tirelessly to target smuggling operations, drug shipments, organized crime, weapons, child pornography and pedophiles coming to Canada to engage in sexual activity with Saskatchewan children.
While it is admirable that your government is taking steps to combat human trafficking, with the introduction of Canada's National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, your actions are truly conflicting. The basis of the plan is to identify and combat human trafficking, yet your government is cutting Officers who already do this work, and are successful at it.
While I write to you today on behalf of PSAC members in the Prairies, I am personally involved with a Saskatoon based charity working to raise awareness of human trafficking. I have travelled abroad and seen the faces of the victims and have no doubt that CBSA Officers have also encountered victims. It is only with the support of the Intelligence Officers that this can be identified and evidence gathered to ensure prosecution. Legislation without resources for enforcement results in continued victimization.
Please help your government recognize the importance of Intelligence Officers and urge them to reverse the cuts to CBSA. Though these workers may be unseen by the public, benefits of their work are clear and go a long way to keeping Saskatchewan, and all of Canada, safe from all forms of human trafficking.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.
Regional Executive Vice-President
Public Service Alliance of Canada, Prairies