With the highest per capita rates in the country and an average age of recruitment of 13 years old, Nova Scotia must step up the fight against human trafficking. A PC Bill would ensure that children are taught about the dangers of human trafficking, as a part of the provincial education curriculum.
More than two years after first tabling the original Bill, PC Health Critic Karla MacFarlane has once again proposed changes, and hopes that this time the government will implement this long-overdue legislation.
“Human trafficking rates in Nova Scotia are amongst the highest in the country,” says MacFarlane. “The more that children are taught to recognize signs of human trafficking around them, the more difficult it will be for them to be coerced, groomed and victimized by these gangs.”
The Bill would amend the Education Act, and the curriculum for grades seven to nine.
This Bill was first introduced by MacFarlane in 2019 alongside legislation to establish a team of crown attorneys with specialized knowledge about human trafficking. Changes also required human trafficking survivors to be accompanied court support workers during trial. The latter two bills were adopted by the government through regulations, but the education component continues to be neglected.
“We have made progress in improving victims' services but we need our children to be aware and prepared for the dangers out there,” says MacFarlane. “Equipping them with the tools they need to protect themselves starts with education.’
Numbers released from Statistics Canada in June show that Nova Scotia has the highest rates of human trafficking incidents in the country.
“Human Trafficking ruins lives. I’m calling on all MLAs to support this legislation so that we can take steps to protect our children,” says MacFarlane.