Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a serious human rights violation perpetrated primarily against women and children. Learn more about definitions of international versus domestic trafficking; myths and realities; its economic drivers; prostitution versus trafficking in humans versus smuggling; and, the consequences including trauma. Find human trafficking research, training resources, guides for health providers, programs, crisis support lines, and global promising practices in preventing human trafficking and victim support. Understand human trafficking in Aboriginal communities, immigrant and refugee communities, and the social, economic and political factors that create vulnerabilities to being trafficked and contribute to the positioning of perpetrators to exploit and harm vulnerable persons.

Alliance Against Modern Slavery
The Alliance Against Modern Slavery combats modern slavery by collecting resources, building programs, and creating alliances among a network of local and global partners so that every person has the opportunity for sustainable freedom. The Alliance’s mission is to research, educate and aid in partnership with public, private, non-profit and governmental organizations to end slavery.

An Exploration of Promising Practices in Response to Human Trafficking in Canada
Nicole Barrett (2010)
This report was prepared for the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Forum of Status of Women Senior Officials. It identifies global promising practices focused on human trafficking prevention and victim support.

Anti-Slavery Bill Now Law – No Safe Haven for Traffickers in Canada
Marketwire (2012)
This article discusses the Royal Assent of Bill C-310, an Act to Amend the Criminal Code (trafficking in person). Bill C-310 further clarifies the definition of exploitation in the human trafficking offence and extends authority to prosecute human trafficking crimes that were committed abroad in order to assist law enforcement in dealing with this issue more effectively and efficiently.

Avenue Zero
Hélène Choquette (2010)
Avenue Zero is a 2010 documentary on human trafficking in Canada. The title refers to the name of the first road in British Columbia as you cross the border from the United States. The film contains candid interviews with victims, perpetrators and witnesses of human trafficking in the Vancouver area and across the country. You can purchase the DVD at the National Film Board of Canada.

B.C. Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons (OCTIP)
British Columbia (2007)
The Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons (OCTIP) was established in 2007 in the province of British Columbia. Through a collaborative effort, OCTIP’s goal is to prevent human trafficking and provide support services for trafficked persons. OCTIP also supports the justice system in prosecuting cases of human trafficking.

Blue Blindfold – Open your eyes to human trafficking
Canadian Government (2010)
In 2010, the Government of Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Crime Stoppers Association (CCSA), launched a public awareness campaign on human trafficking called Blue Blindfold – Open Your Eyes to Human Trafficking. The campaign was adopted from Britain’s campaign which was launched in 2007. The goals of the campaign are to raise awareness among Canadians about the issue of human trafficking and inform the public on how to identify and report potential trafficking cases. The campaign includes brochures, posters and a short video.

Break the Silence Canadian Version (YouTube Video)
Walk With Me Victim Services. Timea Nagy (Jan 30, 2013)
Canadian Public Service Announcement on Domestic Sex Trafficking. Created by: Song written by: Francois Mulder, Directed and edited by Miguel Barbosa Yesfilms, Assistant Editor: Dan Payne, Dancing scenes/Choreography: Tamerra Lynn, Background vocals: Timea Nagy, Producer: Kibwe Thomas and Walk With Me Canada Victim Services

Caring for Trafficked Persons: Guidance for Health Providers
Cathy Zimmerman & Rosilyne Borland (2009)
This manual helps to educate healthcare practitioners on recognizing human trafficking victims and providing them with appropriate treatment and support. Many trafficked persons experience illnesses and injuries as a result of the abuse and abhorrent working conditions they are exposed to. Trafficked persons are forced to endure these conditions in isolation with no opportunities to seek help. Contact with a healthcare provider may be the only connection a trafficked person may have to receive support and/or notify authorities of their situation. This resource outlines the special approaches required for diagnosis and treatment of a trafficked person and the role of a healthcare practitioner when a patient is suspected or identified as a victim of trafficking.

Do Not Harm: A Human Rights Approach to Anti-Trafficking Policies and Interventions in Canada.
Learning Network Brief 5
Anna-Lee Lepp (March 2013)
As a founding member and current director of the Global Alliance Against Trafficking in Women (GAATW) Canada, established in 1996, Dr. Lepp has devoted the last sixteen years to researching and monitoring continuities and shifts in Canadian anti-trafficking policies, practices, and interventions. Her presentation will explore the implications of applying the principle of “do no harm” and of centering human rights when developing responses to human trafficking. She will draw on both GAATW’s international work and GAATW Canada’s research on this question, including a major recent study on the anti-trafficking measures and initiatives implemented prior to and during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games.

Domestic Sex Trafficking of Aboriginal Girls in Canada: Issues and Implications
Anupriya Sethi (2007)
In this paper, Anupriya Sethi summarizes key issues and policy implications regarding Aboriginal girls within the sex trafficking industry in Canada, as identified by grass roots agencies that work directly with victims. The lived experiences of Aboriginal women and girls make them more vulnerable to sexual exploitation and thus overrepresented in the sex trafficking industry. This paper provides an overview of domestic sex trafficking of Aboriginal girls including the scope and pattern of trafficking, recruitment methods, potential causal factors and/or vulnerabilities (e.g., colonization, residential schools, lack of awareness and acknowledgment, violence, poverty, isolation, racism, substance use, gaps in services), and policy implications.

E-Newsletter Issue 2: September 2012. The Issue: Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is a serious human rights violation and a clandestine crime. It is perpetrated primarily against women and children, occurs at the international and Canadian level, and involves the recruitment, transportation or harbouring of persons for the purpose of exploitation. The consequences of this gendered violence are devastating.  We highlight accessible, current information and diverse perspectives on human trafficking and link you to more in depth discussions and materials.

Enslaved and Exploited: The Story of Sex Trafficking in Canada
Jay Brock & Michelle Brock (2010)
Enslaved and Exploited: The Story of Sex Trafficking in Canada is a 2010 documentary that illustrates the history and current situation of sex trafficking in Canada, including issues around supply/demand, domestic trafficking, the vulnerabilities of Aboriginal women and girls, sex tourism, and the prosecution of traffickers. This 46 minute film was created by Jay and Michelle Brock, a Canadian couple who traveled across the country to profile this issue. The documentary contains testimony from human trafficking survivors, Canadian activists and politicians.

First International Human Trafficking Journal
Dr. Rochelle Dalla, from the University of Nebraska Lincoln, will establish the Journal of Human Trafficking – the first international academic journal dedicated entirely to the issue of human trafficking.  The first issue will be released early in 2015.

Human Trafficking: Canada is Not Immune
B.C. Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons
This online training course helps service providers identify, protect, and assist persons who may have been trafficked and protect and defend an individual’s basic human rights. The course contains four modules: Defining human trafficking; Canada’s response to human trafficking; How to recognize a trafficked person; and How to help a trafficked person. Actual situations of human trafficking in Canada bring the curriculum to life. A quiz, with answers provided, lets you test what you have learned. Included is a glossary of words, a list of resources, and a short survey to gather feedback on the course. The training takes about five to seven hours to complete but you are able to complete it at your own pace. The information is current and provides a national perspective on the issue of human trafficking. Case examples illustrate that each trafficking situation is unique while sharing the common denominator of exploitation. The curriculum provides a list of both Canadian and international resources relevant to a range of service providers. The course was developed by the British Columbia Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons and Public Safety Canada, in partnership with the Department of Justice.

Human Trafficking Program of the Women’s Support Network of York Region (WSN)
Women’s Support Network of York Region (2011)
The program takes a collaborative community approach to addressing trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) within York Region. Informed by women with lived experience, a regional anti human trafficking committee, and the research, the program provides comprehensive services for survivors of human trafficking, delivered through a collaborative of service providers. The Human Trafficking Program provides outreach and case management services for women and girls who are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation, or at-risk for trafficking. Services are non-judgmental and informed by a feminist, anti-racist/anti-oppression framework. Through the partnerships with our regional committee members, our case manager provides survivors with immediate and ongoing support including, trauma-informed counselling, legal support, and housing assistance. To date, 29 women have received support.

Invisible Slaves
MTV Exit
Invisible Slaves is a 2011 documentary on the human trafficking of children and youth in Latin America. The film presents information on what human trafficking involves, methods of coercion, challenges faced in attempting to escape traffickers, and the importance of acting to end human trafficking. Women and men who experienced trafficking during childhood or adolescence share their stories. (In Spanish with English subtitles).

Learning Network Human Trafficking Forum
Human trafficking is a serious human rights violation and a clandestine crime. it is perpetrated primarily against women and children, and involves the recruitment, transportation or harboring of persons for the purpose of exploitation. The consequences of this gendered violence are devastating.  The present stage of its recognition and intervention emphasize the need for relevant information and resources for community stakeholders working to prevent human trafficking, to protect those affected, and to hold perpetrators accountable.  Videos have been posted from the Learning Network Human Trafficking Forum held in London, Ontario on March 5th, 2013.

Local Safety Audit Guide: To Prevent Trafficking in Persons and Related Exploitation
In 2013, the National Crime Prevention Centre, Public Safety Canada, published the local safety audit guide – To Prevent Trafficking in Persons and Related Exploitation.  The purpose of the guide is to contribute to the development of strategic action plans to prevent human trafficking and exploitation in Canada’s cities and address factors that make particular groups more vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation.  Chapters include: Trafficking in Persons – Global and Canadian Context; Conducting a Sound Audit and Developing an Action Plan; and Specific Populations at risk.

National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking
Federal Government (2012)
On June 6, 2012, the federal government released Canada’s first National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. The Plan commits $25 million over four years to build on and strengthen Canada’s efforts to prevent, detect and prosecute human trafficking. The announcement included additional funding to assist victims of human trafficking, the creation of an Integrated Law Enforcement Team to combat human trafficking, and a new Human Trafficking Task Force led by Public Safety Canada at the federal level.

National Human and Sex Trafficking Crisis Support Line
The Chrysalis Network (2011)
In 2011, The Chrysalis Network, based in Edmonton, Alberta, launched the first national human and sex trafficking crisis support line that offers free and confidential counselling services to persons who have been trafficked. A trained counsellor is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Over the past year, the support line has received over 250 calls including five from the United States. With the help of volunteer counsellors, the crisis support line is able to offer counselling services in five languages: English, French, Arabic, Punjabi & Singhalese.

NGOs and Human Trafficking: Tensions, Blind-Spots and Power
Learning Network Brief 4
Sue Wilson (March 2013)
This Learning Network Brief was written by Sue Wilson, Director of the Office for Systemic Justice for the Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Canada. In this Brief, Sue Wilson reflects on the importance of holding onto three key tensions in her work on issues of human trafficking: prosecution and protection, collaboration and mission, and, outreach and advocacy. She also explores blind spots created by stereotypes, assumptions, statistics, and labels and categories. Sue Wilson concludes her commentary with reflections on power and control.

“No More” Ending Sex-Trafficking in Canada – Report of the National Task Force on Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls in Canada
This report outlines the findings and recommendations of the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s National Task Force on Trafficking of Women and Girls in order to help develop a five-year national anti-trafficking strategy.  Topics include defining sex trafficking and the work of the Task Force; why sex trafficking must end; literature review on sex trafficking including who is at most risk, who are the traffickers, who are the buyers, and how big an issue is sex trafficking; an integrated strategy to end sex trafficking in Canada; changing systems that provide support and justice; supports available for women and girls; raising awareness; developing a collective action; and recommendations to end sex trafficking in Canada.

Not For Sale
David Batstone (2007)
Not For Sale is a global campaign to end human trafficking and modern day slavery. The campaign increases awareness and knowledge about human trafficking through a variety of materials available from their website: a student abolitionist handbook which helps students get the movement started in their schools; educational course curriculums for churches, colleges, and high schools; testimonials and information from survivors and activists; a slavery map which allows website visitors to document cases of known human trafficking around the world; information on events that are occurring across the globe; and other helpful resources. The Not For Sale organization also helps businesses, governments and grassroots agencies to create and sustain social enterprises that benefit victims and communities that are vulnerable to trafficking. The three-staged process includes Stability & Safety, Life Skills & Job Training; and Dignified Work and Sustainable Future.

Online Training Initiative to Address Human Trafficking
In consultation with subject area experts, service providers, government staff, police and survivors of human trafficking, Multilingual Community Interpreter Services (MCIS) has developed online training and related resources for service providers who support human trafficking victims in Ontario. The training and related resources include: an overview of human trafficking in Canada and Ontario; information on the dynamics of human trafficking; human trafficking indicators; service needs of trafficked persons; unique needs of Aboriginal and Francophone clients; and information on first response, medium and long-term support. The training is also available in French.

Organized Crime and Domestic Trafficking in Persons in Canada
Criminal Intelligence Service Canada (2008)
The Criminal Intelligence Service Canada published a report on organized crime in Canada with the goal of raising awareness and educating the general public. The report aims to provide a guide for law enforcement, policy makers, and the public in implementing a strategic plan to prevent sex trafficking in Canada. Topics discussed are characteristics of organized crime networks; how victims are recruited and trafficked; how perpetrators maintain control over trafficked victims; the incentive for perpetrators to exploit victims; and the future direction of sex trafficking in Canada.

PACT-Ottawa Local Safety Audit Report: Towards the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons and Related Exploitation in the Ottawa Area
This guide was developed by the Department of Public Safety Canada to assess the nature and scope of sex trafficking and to develop an action plan tailored specifically to local context.  In March 2013, Status of Women Canada funded a project by PACT-Ottawa aimed at building partnerships and collaboration between community stakeholders for the purpose of identifying and responding to the specific needs of victims of sex trafficking in the Ottawa area.  The findings from the project helped to devise a plan of four main actions outlined in this guide: 1) public awareness; 2) training; 3) education and empowerment; and 4) outreach and partnership.

Polaris Project: For a World Without Slavery
United States National Resource Centre on Trafficking in Persons (2012)
The United States National Resource Centre on Trafficking in Persons is the Polaris Project. Its website has extensive information, tools, and online training resources for survivors and service providers (e.g., educators, health providers, law enforcement professionals). Resources include: Comprehensive Human Trafficking Assessment; Trafficking in Persons Power and Control Wheel; Treating the Hidden Wounds: Trauma Treatment and Mental Health Recovery for Victims of Human Trafficking; Finding a Path to Recovery (information about Victims of Domestic Sex Trafficking who are minors); A Fact Sheet for Schools; Intersection of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking.

Red Light/Green Light: A Documentary on Sex Trafficking
Jared and Michelle Brock, founders of Hope for the Sold, traveled to 10 different countries to film a documentary on how to prevent sexual exploitation before it begins.  Visit website to buy a copy or to host a screening.

Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Aboriginal Women and Girls – Literature Review and Key Informant Interviews
This research report was developed by the Native Women’s Association of Canada to inform the Canadian Women’s Foundation’s National Task Force on Trafficking of Women and Girls of the state of human trafficking for sexual exploitation of Aboriginal women and girls in Canada.  This report will assist the Task Force in developing a national anti-trafficking strategy to address the sexual exploitation of Aboriginal women and girls across the country.

The Incidence of Human Trafficking in Ontario
The Alliance Against Modern Slavery held an annual conference on October 15, 2011 and the need for evidence-based research on human trafficking was identified.  From this request stemmed the Alliance Against Modern Slavery Ontario Coalition Research Initiative on the Incidence of Human Trafficking in Ontario.  This report outlines the results of this initiative.  Important findings revealed a total of 551 cases of human trafficking involving Ontario as a source, transit or destination point were reported between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2013; 62.9% of victims were Canadian citizens; 90% of victims were female; and the majority of victims were between the ages of 15 and 24.

Trafficking of Aboriginal Women and Girls in Canada
Anette Sikka (2009)
Anette Sikka’s report on trafficking of Aboriginal women and girls in Canada discusses the impact of historical representations and mainstream media in maintaining myths and stereotypes that Aboriginal women are “prostitutes” and “criminals” rather than “victims of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation.” Specifically, Sikka illustrates how, for decades, Aboriginal women and girls have been coerced into the sex trade and how this form of sexual exploitation meets the legal definitions of “trafficking.” Sikka concludes that defining sexual exploitation of Aboriginal women and girls as “sex trafficking” may dispel the myths and stereotypes and lead to more preventative interventions for these women and children.

Truck Stop Campaign
Persons Against the Crime of Trafficking in Humans Ottawa (PACT-Ottawa) (2012)
The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness about trafficking in persons, specifically amongst the trucking industry and provide education to communities across the province with the overall goal of reaching national and international audiences. The TruckSTOP campaign targets the transport industry with the belief that truck drivers may travel the same routes as traffickers and may witness suspicious activities. The campaign provides drivers and truck stop visitors with information on how to identify trafficking and what to do when they suspect trafficking is occurring. Information is provided on posters, beverage coasters, podcasts, audio CD’s and radio productions. Materials are available free of charge.

Using Text Messages to Reach Victims of Human Trafficking: Results from a Community-University Research Collaboration
This 2013 report provides an overview of a research project that explored the use of text messaging to reach potential victims of sexual exploitation/trafficking.  Edmonton’s Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) collaborated with the Faculty of Extension at the University of Alberta to incorporate text messaging into CEASE’s outreach and support programming.  Preliminary results revealed that text messaging is a useful tool in supporting program outreach and communicating with potential victims of sexual exploitation/human trafficking.  The project is continuing into 2014.

Vienna Forum to Fight Human Trafficking: 13-15 February 2008
Austria Center Vienna, Background Paper
This background paper, written for the Vienna Forum to Fight Human Trafficking that took place in February 2008, discusses the role of technology in human trafficking. The paper begins by describing how technology can be part of the problem by allowing traffickers easy ways to exchange information and financial transactions, recruit victims via communications and advertisements, and exploit victims with pornographic images and child pornography. However, the paper also outlines how technology can be part of the solution to preventing human trafficking. Specifically, the paper outlines how technology can be used to investigate trafficking cases; interrupt the travel of victims by ensuring security and control of documents; prosecuting traffickers; and safeguarding the physical safety of victims and providing victim assistance.

Walk-With-Me, Victim Services Canada
Timea Nagy (2009)
Walk With Me Victim Services Canada is an organization that raises awareness and educates the public about human trafficking, provides support services to victims, and advocates for change. The organization was established in 2009 by Timea Nagy, a survivor of human trafficking. Walk With Me provides a crisis line for police officers and service providers and services victims.