Released on November 23, 2023
Legislation Will Help Sever Ties of Financial Coercion
The Government of Saskatchewan introduced legislation today to protect victims of human trafficking from the impact of coerced debts.
“This is about reducing dependency between victims and their traffickers, who often force victims to take out loans on their behalf and then prevent them from repaying them," Justice Minister and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre said. "We hope that these new protections will help vulnerable victims rebuild their lives without coerced debts hanging over their heads.”
“The debts coerced upon human trafficking victims and survivors while they are being exploited often create significant barriers as they rebuild their lives,” The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking Executive Director Julia Drydyk said. “With the introduction of The Protection for Human Trafficking (Coerced Debts) Amendment Act, Saskatchewan is one of the first provinces that is taking steps to address the financial abuse elements of human trafficking. The centre encourages the Government of Saskatchewan to work closely with survivor experts and front-line agencies to ensure this legislation is implemented in a way that empowers survivors and reduces barriers to accessing support.”
The Protection from Human Trafficking (Coerced Debts) Amendment Act, 2023, amends existing legislation and will prohibit lenders from including information about coerced debts in credit reports and from taking coerced debts into account when evaluating a potential loan.
The legislation implements a private, trauma-informed certification process for victims to access through the Ministry of Justice's Victims Services, which will confirm a victim's history and debts incurred as a result. Once it has confirmed an applicant’s history, Victims Services will provide a certificate to use when working with a credit reporting agency.
While credit reporting agencies may choose to remove information about coerced debts without certification, this process will allow victims to confirm the information, if necessary, without the need to reveal private and potentially traumatizing information to a credit reporting agency.
This legislation builds on Saskatchewan’s ongoing work to address growing incidences of human trafficking. In 2022, the province introduced The Protection from Human Trafficking Act, which added new provisions for protection orders against human traffickers and enables victims to initiate lawsuits against their traffickers for financial compensation.
In addition, over $27.5 million has been invested this year by the Government of Saskatchewan in interpersonal violence supports and services. This includes $984,000 in general operational funding over three years to support second stage housing across the province, including intervention and counselling services, for women and their children leaving interpersonal violence and abuse.
In Regina and Prince Albert, $108,000 in operational funding over three years was recently announced to support second stage housing, which will support counselling services and intervention for women and their children leaving interpersonal violence and abuse in both communities and surrounding areas.
In addition, in the fall of 2022, government provided $150,000 in funding to Hope Restored, which offers services to victims of human trafficking.
For more information on Saskatchewan’s ongoing work to prevent human trafficking and support survivors, please visit:
For more information, contact:
Justice and Attorney General