joy smith foundation

What Is Human Trafficking?

Individuals are lured into the sex trade or forced labour every day in Canada because they are unaware of the malicious tactics used by predators. One of the key focuses of the Joy Smith Foundation is the prevention of human trafficking through improved education and awareness. The most important first step you can take toward helping combat this issue is to know the facts.
“Human traffickers are empowered by public apathy and emboldened by despair. So let us shake off the shades 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

The Issue

is the average age of entry into the sex trade in Canada
average annual profit a single victim of sex trafficking in Canada can earn the trafficker into the sex trade in Canada
of Canada’s sex trafficking victims are Canadian born

Human trafficking is the forced participation in the sex trade or labour market - manipulation is used to exploit individuals and take away choice. It is one of the most heinous violations of human rights.

Human trafficking exists in two main forms in Canada:

Sex Trafficking

for example: 
forced paid sexual services, massage parlours, stripping

Forced labour

for example: 
nannies, live-in caregivers, agricultural or construction workers

Human trafficking is a lucrative crime and the perpetrators use sophisticated manipulation techniques to lure victims both online and in-person. Predators are talented at recognizing vulnerability and our best tool is to teach Canadians to know the signs.

Unfortunately, criminal enterprises and traffickers are actively recruiting every day in Canadian urban and rural areas, and across provincial borders. It’s a growing Canadian problem that goes largely unnoticed because victims are first lured by false trust and then stripped of their ability to make decisions so that they are ultimately controlled by threats, coercion, and manipulation.

Knowledge is our greatest protection. The more we know and understand about human trafficking, the more we can do to prevent it.

Education empowers communities against human trafficking. By knowing the signs, we can prevent youth and adults from being lured into trafficking.

Take Action

One of the most important actions you can take to combat human trafficking is to learn more about the issue. Education is our greatest weapon in the prevention of human trafficking.

The following information is designed to help you better understand the issue so you can make a difference for survivors and in your community.
"Resources, such as the ones The Joy Smith Foundation provides, make all organizations in these partnerships work better and more efficiently, benefitting the communities we serve."
– Workshop Participant

Learn More About Human Trafficking

Education is our greatest weapon against human trafficking. Knowledge isn't just power; it's protection. Understanding the vulnerabilities and the signs of human trafficking isn't just an individual's shield - it's a community's fortress. 

When we know who is most vulnerable, and the signs to watch for, we can all take steps to prevent it from happening. Educate yourself about the issue, how to recognize who’s at risk and how to effectively intervene when you suspect something isn’t right.

Help spread the word - request a speaker

Book a Workshop
Set up an in-person or virtual workshop anywhere in Canada and learn to spot the warning signs.

Understand The Issue

Being lured into human trafficking can happen to anyone, anywhere and at any time. We know that youth, women and men fall victim to this crime. Human trafficking happens in large cities, small towns and rural areas across Canada. It happens to people of every age, race, and income level. Less than a kilometre from where you are, someone is being lured.

Statistically, those most likely to be at-risk include:

Women and girls; migrants and new immigrants; LGBTQ2+ persons; persons living with disabilities; children in the child welfare system; at-risk youth; those who are socially or economically disadvantaged; and 

Migrant workers may be particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse due to many factors, such as language barriers, working in isolated/remote areas, lack of access to services and support, and lack of access to accurate information about their rights.

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Signs of sex trafficking:

  • Sudden interest in a man several years older
  • New clothing, jewelry, or gifts without having money
  • Frequent sleepovers at a friend’s house
  • Sudden change in style of dress or make-up
  • New circle of friends and isolation from their old group 
  • Change in attitude towards school, regular activities, and friends
  • Grades are dropping
  • Unexplained cuts or bruises
  • Using two cell phones

Signs of forced labour:

  • Have a job offer that seems too good to be true 
  • Have an employer who makes threats of deportation or reporting immigration status to police
  • Have an employer that withholds personal identification
  • Feel their life or those they love could be in danger if they don’t work long hours and/or accept a lower wage
  • Have to relocate with few details and no payment upfront
  • Live and/or work in inhumane/ terrible conditions

Traffickers are skilled at luring and influencing, and they use various methods to gain and then maintain control over their victims. Grooming is a process whereby predators work to gain the trust of the victim while isolating them from family and friends. Control is kept through physical violence, sexual assault, and emotional abuse or manipulation. Victims may face severe consequences if they refuse to comply or attempt to escape. Traffickers clearly violate the basic human rights of their victims. 

It is NEVER the victim’s fault. Human trafficking survivors embody unparalleled strength and resilience, emerging from situations no one should ever endure. Anyone anywhere can be lured into this heinous crime, and no survivor is to blame for their circumstances.

If you suspect an individual is the victim of human trafficking, report it to the police immediately. Police do not reveal who reported the concern and will look into it immediately.

Educate yourself so that you can keep talking and sharing factual information about the issue of human trafficking. Education is our greatest weapon. An informed community is a safer one, capable of recognizing the signs and protecting the safety and well-being of all people.

The more awareness we can create, the more people we can empower to make change.

Volunteer your time for The Joy Smith Foundation and become part of the fight to end human trafficking in Canada. We welcome and need volunteers with all levels of experience!

Donate to The Joy Smith Foundation and your support will go towards our Education, Intervention and Prevention Programs.

The Joy Smith Foundation is Canada’s leading authority on the prevention and intervention of human trafficking and also provides support for survivors of this horrific crime.

“I am very grateful that The Joy Smith Foundation presented to my class. A student came up to me afterward and told me that her brother had introduced her to a group of guys who were turning her out for sex every Saturday night. She was afraid to tell anyone until she heard the presentation. I’m now dealing with this student through the Foundation to help her and her parents restore her mental and physical health.”
--Teacher, Grade 7

Get Help now

Joy Smith Foundation

Monday to Friday 8 am to 4 PM CST
(204) 691-2455

Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline 24/7 and Confidential

Helps connect victims and survivors with social services, law enforcement, and emergency services, as well as receive tips from the public.

The Canada Suicide Prevention Service 24/7

Or Text 45645. Available 4 PM-Midnight ET.

Canadian Centre for Child Protection

Monday to Friday 8 am to 4 PM CST
Toll Free: 1-800-9135


Canada’s national tip line for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children.

Alberta Police

Edmonton: 911 or for non-emergencies 780-423-4567

Child Abuse Unit Edmonton: 780-422-2001

Calgary: 911 or for non-emergencies 403-266-1234

Child Abuse Unit Calgary: 403-428-2211

Trafficking Hotlines

Edmonton or Calgary Crime Stoppers: 1-800-222-8477

Suicide/Crisis Hotline

Crisis 24 hours Edmonton: 780-482-4536 (HELP)

Calgary Main Crisis Line: 403-266-4537 (HELP)

Distress and Suicide Prevention Line of Southwestern Alberta: 1-888-787-2880

Alberta One Line (For sexual violence): 1-866-403-8000

Addictions Hotline

Alberta Health Services Addiction and Mental Health Support: 1-866-332-2322

Shelter/Emergency Shelter

Family Violence Info Line: 310-1818 (no area code needed)

British Columbia

BC Police

Vancouver: 911 or for non-emergencies 604-717-3321
Surrey: 911 or for non-emergencies 604-599-0502 

Addictions Hotline

Alcohol & Drug Information and Referral Service: 1-800-663-1441

For Lower Mainland
: 604-660-9382

Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre (For Mental Health and Substance Use Issues): 1-800-665-1922 For Lower Mainland: 604-875-2084


City of Winnipeg Police

Child Exploitation: If you are aware of a child at immediate risk of online sexual assault or exploitation, call 9-1-1 immediately or call the Winnipeg Police Service at 204-986-6222.

Counter Exploitation Unit: Investigations regarding human trafficking, street prostitution, escorts, and massage parlours, etc. 204-986-6250.

Trafficking Hotlines

Crime Stoppers: A cooperative program between the local media, citizens, and the police designed to involve the public in the fight against crime.
204-786-8477 or Toll-Free: 1-800-222-8477

Suicide/Crisis Hotlines

Manitoba Suicide Prevention and Support Line: 1-877-435-7170

Klinic Crisis/Sexual Assault Crisis Line: 204-786-8631  or Toll-free: 1-888-292-7565

Addictions Hotline

Manitoba Addictions Hotline: 1-855-662-6605 (Adult) or 1-877-710-3999 (Youth)

Shelters/Emergency Shelters

Manitoba Provincial Crisis Line: 1-877-435-7170

Main Street Project: 204-982-8267

Siloam Mission Hannah’s Place Emergency Centre: 204-956-4344

New Brunswick

New Brunswick Police

Fredericton Police: 911 or for non-emergencies 506-460-2300

Saint John Police: 911 or for non-emergencies 506-658-4455

Saint John/Hampton/Sussex: 506-658-3742

Trafficking Hotline

New Brunswick Crime Stoppers: 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS)

Suicide/Crisis Hotline

Fredericton Sexual Assault Centre 24 Hour Crisis Line: 506-454-0437

Addictions Hotline

Addiction Centres – Department of Health: 506-674-4300

Shelter/Emergency Shelter

Social Assistance Housing and Homelessness: 506-453-2001

Newfoundland and Labrador

NL Police

St. John’s: 911 or for non-emergencies 709-729-8000

Suicide/Crisis Hotline

Mental Health Crisis Line 24 Hour: 1-888-737-4668

Sexual Assault Crisis Line 24 Hour: 1-800-726-2743

Addictions Hotline

Addiction Services – Department of Health and Community Services: 709-729-3658 or 1-888-737-4668

Shelter/Emergency Shelter

THANL (Transition House Association of Newfoundland and Labrador): 709-739-6759

Northwest Territories

Yellowknife RCMP: For emergencies 867-669-1111 For non-emergencies 867-765-3900

Trafficking Hotline

Child and Family Services (Yukon, Nunavut and NWT): 1-800-661-0408 Ext. 3002

Suicide/Crisis Hotline

Hospital-Based 24-Hour Crisis Line: 867-920-2121 Toll free: 1-800-661-0844

Mental Health and Addictions Dept. of Health and Social Services: 867-767-9061

Addictions Hotline

Department of Health and Social Services: 867-873-7037 or 1-800-661-0844

Shelter/Emergency Shelter

Keeping Women and Children Safe 24/7 Crisis Line: 1-866-223-7775

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia Police

Halifax: 911 or for non-emergencies 902-480-5020

Trafficking Hotline

Integrated Human Trafficking Team (Not monitored 24/7): 902-490-5142

Nova Scotia Human Trafficking Team 24/7: 902-449-2425

Suicide/Crisis Hotline

24/7 Crisis Line: 1-888-429-8167

Addictions Hotline

Mental Health and Addictions Services – Nova Scotia Health: 1-888-429-8167

Shelter/Emergency Shelter

Shelter Nova Scotia Central Office: 902-406-3631



Iqaluit Police: 911 or for non-emergencies 867-979-1111

Trafficking Hotline

Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline 24/7 and Confidential: 1-833-900-1010

Suicide/Crisis Hotline

Kamatsiaqtut Nunavut Helpline 24 Hours: 867-979-3333 or 1-800-265-3333

Addictions Hotline

Kamatsiaqtut Nunavut HelpLine 24 Hours: 867-979-3333 or 1-800-265-3333

Shelter/Emergency Shelter

Contact Nunavut Family Services for the Nearest Shelter: 867-975-5722


Ontario Police

Ontario Provincial Police: 911 or for non-emergencies 1-888-310-1122

Toronto: 911 or for non-emergencies 416-808-2222 - Human Trafficking Enforcement Team

Ottawa: 911 or for non-emergencies 613-236-1222 -Human Trafficking Unit

Trafficking Hotlines

Crime Stoppers Toronto: 416-222-8477 (TIPS)

Ontario’s Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-833-999-9211

Suicide/Crisis Hotline

Mental Health Help Line: 1-866-531-2600

Addictions Hotline

Connex Ontario (For Mental Health and Addictions): 1-866-531-2600

Shelter/Emergency Shelter

Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Houses: 416-977-6619

Prince Edward Island

PEI Police

Charlottetown: 911 or for non-emergencies 902-629-4172

Trafficking Hotline

Chrysalis Human and Sex Trafficking Support Line 24/7: 1-866-528-7109

PEI Crime Stoppers: 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS)

Suicide/Crisis Hotline

Island Helpline 24/7: 1-800-218-2885

Addictions Hotline

Addiction Services – Health PEI: 1-888-299-8399

Shelter/Emergency Shelter

Anderson House (Island Wide): 902-892-0960

Chief Mary Bernard Memorial Women’s Shelter: 902-892-9242


Quebec Police

Quebec City Police: 911 or for non-emergencies 310-4141 (for municipalities without 911 service)

Montreal Police: 911 or 514-393-1133

Trafficking Hotline

Info-Crime Montreal: 514-393-1133 (confidential calls)

Suicide/Crisis Hotline

SOS Violence Conjugale 24/7:  1-800-363-9010 or Text 438-601-1211

Provincial Helpline for Sexual Assault: 1-888-933-9007

Addictions Hotline

Portage Quebec (A Canadian non-profit organization that helps people suffering from substance abuse-related problems to overcome their dependencies and live healthy, happy, and productive lives):

Montreal and surrounding area: 514-527-2626

Elsewhere in Quebec: 1-800-265-2626

Shelter/Emergency Shelter

Dans La Rue – The Bunker Emergency Shelter for Youth: 514-524-0029


Saskatchewan Police

Saskatoon: 911 or for non-emergencies 306-975-8300

Regina: 911 or for non-emergencies 306-777-6500

Saskatchewan ICE Unit (Internet Child Exploitation Unit): To leave tips - 639-625-4247

Trafficking Hotlines

Toll free National Human Trafficking Hotline Saskatchewan: 1-866-528-7109

Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers: 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS)

Suicide/Crisis Hotline

Crisis Suicide Helpline: 306-525-5333

Child Abuse Line: 306-569-2724

Adult Sexual Assault Helpline: 1-800-214-7083

Addictions Hotline

Health Line, Ministry of Health: 811 or 1-877-800-0002 / 306-766-6600

Saskatchewan Health Authority Mental Health and Addictions: 306-655-7777

Saskatchewan Addiction Services: 1-877-909-3636

Shelter/Emergency Shelter

24 Hour Domestic Violence Crisis Line and Shelter: 306-693-6511



RCMP: 1-866-677-7267

Whitehorse Police: 911 or for non-emergencies 867-393-6791

Trafficking Hotline

Child and Family Services: 867-667-3002 or Toll Free (Yukon, Nunavut and NWT) 1-800-661-0408 Ext. 3002

Suicide/Crisis Hotline

Women’s Transition Home (Betty’s Haven and Kaushee’s Place) 24 Hours Confidential: 867-668-5733

Addictions Hotline

Mental Wellness and Substance User Services – Health and Social Services: 867-456-3838 or for Yukon, Nunavut and NWT 1-866-456-3838

“My daughter told me about Joy Smith attending her school and discussing the incredibly heavy topic of human trafficking. THANK YOU for talking about this important issue... especially with young people who are still quite naive and trusting! As parents, we all warn our kids to be careful and watch out for strangers. So I'm really happy that real stories were shared about how even trusted acquaintances can have ulterior motives. You are doing great work and it's appreciated.”
--Mom of a Grade 9 Student