According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), human trafficking is considered to be one of the fastest growing sectors of organized crime. As an offence, human trafficking violates the fundamental human rights of victims by preying on their vulnerabilities. The impact of human trafficking extends beyond victimization, contributing directly to significant economic, legal, political and environmental impacts on society in general. Quantification of the extent to which human trafficking is occurring remains a significant challenge. In 2007, the International Labour Organization estimated that 2.5 million people are in forced labour (including sexual exploitation) at any given time as a result of trafficking. In Canada, as of May 2012, 42 accused were convicted of offences in human trafficking cases. Approximately 57 cases were before the courts where human trafficking specific charges were laid.
Human trafficking is often characterized as a "low risk/high reward activity" because of the fact that the crime is clandestine and challenging to investigate. Human beings function as expendable resources, a commodity that can be reused and resold to maximize profit.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) recognizes the importance of combating human trafficking and trafficking related offences.
The RCMP National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking outlines current and future efforts in combating this crime. The RCMP's goal is to reduce the prevalence of, and harms caused by, human trafficking in Canada and abroad. In order to accomplish this goal, the RCMP is committed to achieving the following four strategic objectives:
These strategic objectives guide the RCMP towards effectively addressing the various challenges currently impacting the prosecution, prevention, protection, and partnerships associated with human trafficking.
The RCMP will also continue to support the Government of Canada's National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, by advancing the RCMP's national strategy to combat human trafficking.