Human trafficking, a heinous crime, involves the recruitment, transportation, harbouring and/or exercising control, direction or influence over the movements of a person in order to exploit that person, typically through sexual exploitation or forced labour. Victims, mostly women and children, are deprived of their normal lives and forced to provide labour or sexual services, through a variety of coercive and abusive practices, all for the direct profit of the perpetrators. Exploitation often occurs through intimidation, force, sexual assault, and threats of violence to victims and survivors or their families.
Human trafficking is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. In Canada, human trafficking takes place largely for the purpose of sexual exploitation. This is known to occur in hotels, clubs, massage parlors, escort services, and even private residences.
While anyone can be targeted, vulnerable and marginalized individuals are at higher risk, including Indigenous women and girls, vulnerably housed teens, and children and youth who identify as 2SLGBTQ+.
When human trafficking involves children and youth under the age of 18, it is a child abuse, and a child protection concern that requires a Children’s Aid Society’s involvement and action.