The most commonly used definition of human trafficking can be found in the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (1):
‘[T]he recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.’
The exploitation comes into play in the funding model that has the government providing more money to the agency based on how many children they have in care. This leaves the corporation looking to drive up numbers of children in care and to increase their needs. Assessments and diagnoses requiring multiple medications or other special services have become a tool to secure more funding. In many cases the children may not even receive these services but the agency is still provided the funding.
These assessments and diagnoses are big business for many professionals working in cahoots with the agency itself. A doctor or psychiatrist working for C.A.S. has it in their best interest to side with the wishes or desires of their employer to ensure the success of their career and their continued employment. The more they can assist C.A.S. in their endeavors the more they stand to gain financially. This goes for any of the workers within the foster homes as well since the more kids they have in their care the bigger the paycheck and if they side with the social workers then they’ll undoubtedly be sent more children. So if all these people are making money off the situation then who is paying the price?
The children and families they claim to be serving, along with the government, and the tax-payers are all victims of one of the most well protected, secret money making schemes in the country.
One doesn’t have to look far to find evidence of the improper use of government funds or to find evidence of their debt. Despite constant coverage of their lack of funding new C.A.S. buildings are being built, lengthy court battles employ legal teams against people who are often self represented, and the endless parade of propaganda continues. While it is difficult to ascertain much of the financials due to a lack of oversight or transparency on the part of the C.A.S. an audit by the Auditor General that took place in 2005/2006 highlights some of the misuses of government funds. Luxury vehicles, all-inclusive vacations, unchecked spending, and unwarranted bonuses top the list of concerns regarding financials while much of the complaints process is mishandled or ignored altogether.
It is more then merely a coincidence that children most vulnerable to apprehension come from lower income families with multiple children and single or young parents. These children are easy targets with the most potential to bring money in for the C.A.S. Poverty creates an easy method for building a case of neglect and multiple children in the care of single or young parents make it easy to establish that the parents are ill-equipped to cope for a variety of reasons. Since one of the most commonly used tactics for gaining crown wardship of children includes subjecting parents to complicated and drawn out litigation processes many of these parents lack both the education and the finances to stand their ground. Faced with courtrooms full of professionals and experts so out of touch with their lifestyle that they appear to be from another world, they quite simply don’t stand a chance.
Once a crown ward these children can provide funding of a minimum of $30, 000 per child every year to the agency depending on how many different diagnoses they can pile on. Disturbingly enough adoptive parents face nearly as many challenges and hurdles in the process of adopting a child as birth parents face when trying to keep their children, the difference being the potential foster parents often have more access to the resources needed to succeed. When looking at how the funding is set up to benefit the agency the most when providing for crown wards the numbers speak for themselves in regards to whether or not C.A.S. is more concerned with the money it receives from the government or the welfare of the families it serves.