Joy Smith Bio

Joy Smith B.Ed, M.Ed, was a teacher for 23 years, a Member of the Manitoba legislature from 1999-2003, and a Member of Parliament from 2004-2015.

She first became aware of human trafficking from her police officer son, who was working in the Integrated Child Exploitation Unit (ICE). She committed herself to the fight against human trafficking, working to raise awareness and rescue victims, when she discovered a tragedy that survivors know all too well—Canada was considered a haven for predators. Setting out to change this, Joy Smith entered the political arena and became a Member of Parliament in 2004.

In Parliament, Joy Smith made Canadian history as the first sitting MP to amend the Criminal Code twice, passing Bill C-268, mandatory minimum sentencing for trafficking of children 18 years and younger, and Bill C-310, which reaches Canadian law into other countries where Canadian citizens or permanent residents traffic or exploit others abroad. These laws provide an incentive for survivors to testify against their abusers, knowing their perpetrators will be brought to justice under Canadian law. In addition, Joy Smith wrote the prototype for the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking here in Canada. She also took a leadership role in Bill C-36, making the purchase of sex illegal in Canada today and reducing the demand for sex trafficking.

Joy Smith is known as a leading advocate against human trafficking worldwide, and a champion of women’s rights. Over the years she has helped many young victims who have been exploited or trafficked by their abusers.

In 2011, she founded the "Joy Smith Foundation”, where she tirelessly volunteers her time combatting human trafficking, and fighting for the rights of women in Canada and around the globe. Joy Smith was moved to action by personally meeting victims of human trafficking, and coming to understand that traffickers prey on children from every demographic, community, and neighbourhood in Canada. Sustained by her faith, she continues to work with victims, advocates and law enforcement through the Joy Smith Foundation by raising awareness and providing tangible support to organizations dedicated to ending human trafficking.

"Human Traffickers are empowered by public apathy and emboldened by despair. So let us shake off the shackles of indifference, and refuse to be complacent. Let us work together to bring an end to this injustice as we rescue the victims of Modern Day Slavery.” – Joy Smith

Awards & Recognition

Soroptimist Women Helping Women Award (2017)
Presented by Soroptimist International of Winnipeg April 22, 2017 to recognize Joy Smith's significant contribution to improving the lives of women and girls.

Distinguished Christian Leadership Award (2017)
Presented by Providence College for Joy Smith's significant contributions to the work of Jesus Christ and His church.

Outstanding Citizen Award (2016)
Recognizing dedicated service within the community of the RM of East St. Paul.

Together We Can Award (2016)
Carlson Wagonlit Travel selected the Joy Smith Foundation as one of three recipients of this annual bursary award.

Winnipeg Police Force (2014)
Commendation award recognizing Joy Smith for her assistance with a specific human trafficking case that spanned four years.

Recognizing Women’s Efforts to End Human Trafficking: Joy Award (2013)
Presented by the Soroptimist International of Edmonton on March 10, 2013, the Joy Award acknowledges women who, through their personal or professional activities, work to improve the lives of women and girls, specifically in the area of Human Trafficking.
Winnipeg Police Service Commendation (2012)
Presented by the Winnipeg Police Service on June 25, 2012 in recognition and appreciation of her support and commitment to helping law enforcement officers in the rescue and protection of children.
Winnipeg YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Awards: Circle of Inspiration (2012)
Presented to Joy Smith, Dianna Bussey, and Diane Redsky on May 2, 2012 for their work to combat human trafficking and sexual exploitation. These women of distinction have stood up to fight for women and children who are vulnerable and at risk.
United Nations Women Canada Recognition of Achievement Award (2011)
Presented on October 3, 2011 by UN Women Canada National Committee for her contributions to gender equality through her advocacy of anti-trafficking legislation.
Ceremonial Red Shawl and Stand Firm Award (2011)
Presented on January 19, 2011 by the First Nations Women’s Council of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) for her outstanding leadership and commitment to combatting the sexual exploitation of Indigenous women and girls.
Ratanak Wilberforce Award (2010)
Presented by Ratanak International Founder, Brian McConaghy, on December 2, 2010 for her dedication to ending the practice of the modern day slave trade. The Wilberforce Award is inspired by William Wilberforce, a British MP in the early 1800s, who sacrificed his personal and political life to end the Atlantic Slave Trade.
i Stand Award (2010)
Presented by [FREE-them] on October 3, 2010 at the Toronto Stop Child Trafficking Walk for her ongoing efforts to combat human trafficking.
Glendene and Jessie Foster Award (2010)
Presented by Walk With Me on April 15, 2010, for her relentless work to implement human trafficking related policy and legislation.
MY Canada Hero Award (2009)
Presented by MY Canada on November 16, 2009 for resisting the injustice of human trafficking in Canada and abroad.
Victor Award (2008)
Presented by the Temple Committee Against Human Trafficking on April 13, 2008. The Temple Committee presents the Victor award each year to a Canadian who has made significant contributions to combatting human trafficking.