NPPC

Stop Bill 251

NPPC to appear before the Standing Committee on Justice Policy re: Bill 251

NPPC to appear before the Standing Committee on Justice Policy re: Bill 251

This is the deputation that two members of the No Pride in Policing Coalition are giving on Thursday May 13, 2021 at 1pm to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy regarding Bill 251, “Combating Human Trafficking Act 2021”. For our earlier statement on our opposition to Bill 251 and the broader strategy it is part of see below:
This Bill and broader strategy is directed against sex workers and young people (including queer and trans young people), and especially at Black, Indigenous and racialized communities. Please sign onto the Butterfly initiated statement against Bill 251 below:

The No Pride in Policing Coalition (NPPC) Opposes Bill 251: It expands Police powers against Black, Indigenous and racialized people and is not what Trafficking Survivors have asked for.

My name is Jamie Magnusson and this is Gary Kinsman. We are presenting on behalf of the No Pride in Policing Coalition (NPPC). We are a coalition of queer and trans activists organizing for defunding and abolishing the police and all forms of carceral institutions. We stand in solidarity with sex workers.
We are totally opposed to Bill 251 and Ontario’s 5-year plan, the “Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy 2020-2025”. We are outraged that the government plans to spend $307 million dollars implementing this strategy. We noted that the Toronto Police Services proposed $0 to this year’s budget, no doubt mindful of the mass demonstrations this past year led by Black activists and Black Queer and Trans activists calling for defunding and abolishing the police and all forms of carceral institutions in response to the police killings of Black, Indigenous and Racialized people, including members of the queer/trans community such as Coco. The NPPC and many other groups have been demanding that funds from policing and carceral institutions be re-directed back into these communities to create self-determined, sustainable communities.
Instead, the Ontario government is using a covert strategy to expand policing powers and to extend carceral logics into human and social services, budgeting more than $300 million to implement it. These funds need to be re-directed into Black, Indigenous, racialized and other marginalized communities that have experienced years of disinvestment and destruction in the areas of public housing, education, libraries, community centres, anti-violence against women programs and services, queer/trans support, migrant services, and more.
Bill 251, which conflates sex work with human trafficking, proposes legislation that will further criminalize and endanger sex workers, and especially migrant sex workers and those who are from Black, Indigenous, Asian and racialized communities. Further, it outlines a cross-government action plan bringing the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services into greater cooperation with police services, the Ministry of the Solicitor General and the Attorney General. This effectively extends policing and carceral logics into youth and other social services, criminalizing young people, especially from Black, Indigenous and racialized communities. This will have devastating impacts particularly on queer and trans Black, Indigenous and racialized youth who have been ousted from their family homes and are trying to survive free of confinement, surveillance, regulation, criminalization and stigmatization. This move effectively extends and intensifies carceral state logics into human services dealing with queer/trans and racialized young people. The NPPC recognizes the violent implications of this move with regard to our queer/trans racialized communities, and those within our communities who are struggling economically and socially during the pandemic. Often expelled from their families and fleeing from stigmatizing social services, under the new legislation queer/trans youth would be further targeted for police harassment and criminalization.
What Bill 251 calls for has nothing to do with what people who have survived trafficking have been calling for.
We contrast what Indigenous trafficking survivors have been asking for versus what Bill 251 delivers.
Laura Hall, an Assistant Professor, in the School of Indigenous Relations, at Laurentian University in Sudbury, who has done support work and research with Indigenous survivors of trafficking gave the NPPC express permission to use the following quote:
“State-sanctioned anti-trafficking work has been funneled into policing and narrowed from what trafficking survivor groups were saying in 2015-2016. Policing is a problem. They don’t do their jobs when it comes to actually finding the people who have done harm to Indigenous women and Two-spirit people and they also are violent to Indigenous women and Two-spirit people. If we give them more powers, obviously what we’re doing is narrowing the scope of our prevention work while funneling much-needed resources away from Indigenous people and toward state agencies like the police.
“State-sanctioned anti-trafficking work has been funneled into policing and narrowed from what trafficking survivor groups were saying in 2015-2016. Policing is a problem. They don’t do their jobs when it comes to actually finding the people who have done harm to Indigenous women and Two-spirit people and they also are violent to Indigenous women and Two-spirit people. If we give them more powers, obviously what we’re doing is narrowing the scope of our prevention work while funneling much-needed resources away from Indigenous people and toward state agencies like the police.
Prevention is about creating safety, shelter, and community-care for Indigenous trafficking survivors. This means housing, not policing. Land access, Not policing. Culture-based addiction treatment, not policing.
Prevention is about creating safety, shelter, and community-care for Indigenous trafficking survivors. This means housing, not policing. Land access, Not policing. Culture-based addiction treatment, not policing.
Policing does harm to Indigenous trafficking survivors, and Indigenous communities more generally, who then get caught up in the arms of the state. ‘Protection’ work, ‘wellness’ checks and so on, funnel Indigenous people directly into state services including CAS (child welfare) and obviously prison.
Policing does harm to Indigenous trafficking survivors, and Indigenous communities more generally, who then get caught up in the arms of the state. ‘Protection’ work, ‘wellness’ checks and so on, funnel Indigenous people directly into state services including CAS (child welfare) and obviously prison.
Empowering Indigenous people to do our own justice-based work, to take care of each other and ourselves, should be at the center of our social response, and not more policing and criminalization.”
Empowering Indigenous people to do our own justice-based work, to take care of each other and ourselves, should be at the center of our social response, and not more policing and criminalization.”
Bill 251 is diametrically opposed to what survivors have been asking for. We therefore call for a refusal to pass Bill 251 and instead for the funds that were to be allocated to it to go instead to Indigenous and other community-based agencies and projects providing housing, culturally based addiction treatment and harm reduction and other social supports, and access to the land for Indigenous people. To give more funds to the police who are a major danger to Indigenous, Black and racialized communities, to sex workers and poor and homeless people more generally, is to move in the entirely wrong direction.
The No Pride in Policing Coalition supports Black and Indigenous communities in advocating for redirecting police funds to invest in sustainable infrastructure for self-determination with respect to community-based health and wellbeing. We support the wisdom that children and youth are best served by investing in self-determined, adequately funded communities rather than police services.
Bill 251 moves entirely in the opposite direction of what marginalized communities are demanding, which is to re-direct funding from policing to communities.
Bill 251 is a major threat, it must not be passed.

References

Bernstein, E. (2018). Brokered subjects: Sex trafficking and the politics of freedom. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

Kempadoo, K. (2016). Countering Human Trafficking: Introduction. Social and Economic Studies, 65(4), 1-4. Retrieved May 10, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/26380245

Shaver, F., Bryans, J., Bhola, I. (2018). Perceptions of sex work: Challenging the narratives of police and regulatory officials. In Elya M. Durisin, Emily Van der Meulen, Chris Bruckert (Eds.), Red light labour: Sex work, regulation and resistance. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Ontario’s anti-human trafficking strategy 2020-2025. https://www.ontario.ca/page/ontarios-anti-human-trafficking-strategy-2020-2025

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