Human trafficking is happening in cities and towns across our country. Every day, at-risk youth and adults are manipulated and forced to participate in the sex trade or labour market. What starts as a seemingly innocent conversation online or in real life can quickly turn into something sinister that affects lives forever.
It can happen anywhere at anytime. Less than a kilometre from where you live today, someone is being trafficked.
Things weren’t going well for me at home. It was boring and my parents didn’t let me do anything. They were so controlling. I was shy at school and didn’t have any friends until Sylvia started talking to me and we started doing things together. We would have sleepovers and sneak out to parties when I stayed over at her house. She and her boyfriend had a lot of friends and they were very nice to me.
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One night when I got drunk, Sylvia said I had to have sex with the guys at the party. I said no, but I was raped by 7 guys that night. The next morning I woke up in a different city. They took me from city to city. I stayed a week in one city and then moved to the next. I found out later that Sylvia was not my friend at all, but she got girls like me to work for her boyfriend who was part of a gang. I was so confused and I thought I was going to die.
I heard an interview by someone from the Joy Smith Foundation as I was sitting in the lobby of a hotel, waiting to be taken upstairs. It seemed like they were talking to me. I realized then I was being trafficked, just like the lady was talking about on that TV.
My trafficker always watched me wherever we went. One day as he was signing us in at another hotel, I asked to go to the bathroom and I made a run for freedom.
A nice lady stopped and helped me because she thought something was wrong. I told her what was happening to me and she wanted me to call the police, but I was afraid I’d be arrested. My trafficker always told me the police would arrest me and I was afraid that might happen. I was so scared. This lady helped me call the Joy Smith Foundation. They helped me a lot over the last two years. They changed my life and I am so grateful.
I am now back with my family, but it has taken a long time to get over the nightmares.
I am at a point right now where I can talk about what happened to me. I was trafficked. - Human Trafficking Survivor
Education is our greatest weapon.
The more we know and understand about human trafficking, the more we can do to stop it.
Education is our greatest weapon in the prevention of human trafficking. When we know who is most vulnerable and the signs to watch for, we can all take steps to prevent it from happening.
Everyone plays a role in prevention. Working together we can prevent human trafficking in communities across Canada.
I’m really glad the Joy Smith Foundation presented to my students. There were 5 students in my classroom I was worried about. It opened up discussion and it was well received by the students. One of the students came up to me to say that she was breaking off with her boyfriend because of the presentation. Her boyfriend was making very inappropriate requests of her.
--Teacher, Grade 9
We provide education, intervention, and prevention programs.
The Joy Smith Foundation is Canada's leading authority on human trafficking prevention, intervention and support for survivors. Through strengthened criminal laws, enhanced community awareness and compassionate support for survivors , we’ve made a real difference for people from across the country.
We believe that we can prevent more youth and at-risk adults from being exploited. Predators shouldn’t be the only ones who recognize who is most vulnerable to their malicious tactics.
The more we know and understand about human trafficking, the more we can do to prevent it.