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What is

3,996 incidents of human trafficking have been reported to police services in Canada between 2012-2022.  In 2022, 94% of victims of police-reported human trafficking were women and girls.

Contrary to common belief, human trafficking isn't confined to foreign countries or border crossings. It's a grim reality right here in Canada, possibly even in your local community. This pervasive issue spans across regions and affects communities nationwide.

Human Trafficking is a crime that involves recruiting, transporting and/or holding persons so that Traffickers can exercise control over the victims for profit, usually for forced labour or sexual exploitation. In other words, human trafficking can look like someone tricking others into working long hours in dangerous conditions for little to no pay, such as in factories, farms, or construction sites. It can also involve luring vulnerable individuals into the sex industry under false pretenses, where they are forced to perform sexual acts against their will, like in illicit massage parlors, escort services, or online pornography. Additionally, it can appear as families promising a better life for their children but then selling them into domestic servitude, where they're forced to work as housekeepers or nannies without any freedom or pay.



While certain populations are at higher risk of exploitation, such as those who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color; individuals with disabilities or exceptionalities; members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community; and newcomers, human trafficking is indiscriminate and can affect individuals regardless of their background or circumstances. Homeless youth, in particular, are targets due to their desperation for shelter, sustenance, affection, and basic necessities. Other common risk factors encompass a history of abuse, recent immigration or migrant status, and economic or social disadvantages.



In the grooming phase of human trafficking, traffickers use tricks like lying, pressure, and fake kindness to make victims trust them and do what they want. This part is really important for traffickers because it helps them take advantage of people's weaknesses and slowly make them do what they're told. Grooming tactics can involve making fake promises, giving gifts or attention, playing with people's feelings, keeping them away from friends and family, and making bad things seem normal. The main goal is to weaken the victim's resistance and make them feel like they have to do what the trafficker says.


Signs that someone might be going through grooming include:

  • They begin being secretive about their activities and whereabouts

  • They withdraw from their friends and family

  • There is a new friend, boyfriend or girlfriend that they will not introduce to their friends or family

  • They begin where more sexualized clothing, often included clothing and jewellery that is new and that they wouldn’t be able to afford on their own

  • They begin spending time with someone much older than them or a group of people older than them

  • They possess a second or new phone with a phone number they won’t give out

  • They begin going out later and more often



Here are some signs that may indicate that someone is being trafficked:

  • They seem to be under the control of someone else and are not allowed to speak for themselves.

  • They are paid very little or not at all for their work and are treated poorly, this can include poor living conditions that they are forced to live in, working unusual or long hours and/or not allowed to take breaks

  • They are repaying a large debt through sex or labour

  • They seem fearful, anxious, depressed, tense, nervous, submissive or paranoid and may avoid eye contact or appear fearful around police

  • They have branding or tattooing, particularly if those branding and tattoos include names

  • They aren’t in control of their belongings, money or identification

  • They seem to lack medical care or are malnourished

  • They appear not to know their surroundings very well and are moved around a lot

  • They’ve been reported as a missing person

  • They should signs of abuse including bruises, cigarette burns or fractures


Please contact the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline, which operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is an option to call or use the chat function on their website, with a quick ‘exit’ button if you need to leave the page suddenly.


A member of our staff attended a training where they were provided with this informative Indigenous Anti-Human Trafficking Report.In Canada, more than half of Human Trafficking Survivors are Indigenous. If this is a topic you’ve been looking for further information on, click the link below and read the PDF.

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