The offence of human trafficking is relatively new to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), having been added to the legislation in 2001 after Canada signed the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
Human trafficking also was and continues to be an offence under Section 279.01 of the Criminal Code. Under the Criminal Code, however, a conviction requires proof of exploitation beyond a reasonable doubt, whereas exploitation is an aggravating factor on sentencing rather than an element of the offence under IRPA.
The IRPA human trafficking offence is set out in Section 118:
118. (1) No person shall knowingly organize the coming into Canada of one or more persons by means of abduction, fraud, deception or use or threat of force or coercion.
(2) For the purpose of subsection (1), “organize”, with respect to persons, includes their recruitment or transportation and, after their entry into Canada, the receipt or harbouring of those persons.