Learn What is Human Trafficking?

Human Trafficking, also known as Modern Day Slavery, involves the recruitment, transportation, or harbouring of persons for the purpose of exploitation, typically in the sex trade or forced labour.

Although human trafficking has been taking place in Canada for decades, awareness of the issue has only been building during recent years. Unfortunately, we have heard from many victims and parents of victims that they were simply unaware that they or their children could be at risk of trafficking here in Canada.

According to the United Nations, human trafficking is the fastest growing and third most lucrative criminal enterprise globally with annual profits as high as $36 billion per year. It is estimated that there are 30 million people enslaved through sexual exploitation or forced labour worldwide. 

Human trafficking may occur across or within borders, and can involve extensive organized crime networks. Traffickers use various methods to maintain control over their victims, including physical violence, sexual assault, and emotional abuse. Victims may face severe consequences if they refuse to comply or attempt to escape. Traffickers clearly violate the basic human rights of their victims. This is a crime that reaches all elements of our society.

Human Trafficking is Modern Day Slavery, and there are more slaves today in our world than ever before in history. 
The average age of entry into the sex trade in Canada is 12-14 years old. 



Human trafficking exists in two main forms here in Canada:
  1. Sex trafficking – prostitution, massage parlours, stripping
  2. Forced labour – nannies, live-in caregivers, agricultural or construction work
  • Canadian victims are often recruited by male peers. Vulnerable internationals are coerced into prostitution in Canada.
  • A number of organized crime syndicates and family based networks recruit girls to be trafficked between provinces.
  • Victims are controlled by direct (rape, assault) and indirect (threats) forms of coercion.
  • Reliable information about the scale and prevalence of prostitution-related activities, the trafficking of human beings, and the involvement of organized crime in Canada is still difficult to obtain. 
The Numbers: At Home & Abroad 
  • 12-14 years Average age of entry into the sex trade in Canada.
  • $280 000 Average annual profit from a victim of sex trafficking in Canada.
  • $300-$1500 Range of daily earnings off of one victim. Traffickers keep the money.
  • 93% of Canada’s sex trafficking victims were born in Canada.
  • 50% of sex trafficking victims in Canada are Indigenous. 
  • 20-30 million The number of women, men and children estimated to be trapped in slavery around the world.
  • 600 000-800 000 People trafficked across international borders annually.
  • $90 Global average cost of a slave today.


Indigenous women and girls are over-represented as victims of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking in Canada. There is a critical link between missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and sex trafficking in Canada.

Traffickers and buyers have a specific market and target extremely vulnerable Indigenous women and girls. Traffickers and buyers are more violent towards Indigenous women, and Indigenous women are criminalized more often.

The root causes contributing to this increased vulnerability can include the ongoing impacts of colonialism on Indigenous societies, the legacies of residential schools and their inter-generational effects, family violence, childhood abuse, poverty, homelessness, systemic race and gender-based discrimination, lack of education, lack of support networks, rural/remote living, and substance addictions.


If you suspect someone you know is being trafficked please contact the Human Trafficking National Crisis Line 1.866.528.7109 or Crime Stoppers 1.800.222.8477. In Manitoba contact 1.844.333.2211.