What is human trafficking?

woman with her hand over her faceHuman trafficking is the recruitment, transportation and/or harboring of persons for the purpose of exploitation. Victims who are exploited are afraid to leave their situation due to threats, force, coercion or deceit. The most common forms of human trafficking are:

  • Sexual Exploitation: a person is forced to provide sexual acts against his or her will for the financial benefit or material gain of the trafficker. In Canada, this has mostly been associated with organized sex work occurring behind fronts such as escort agencies or residential brothels. Sex traffickers will often reserve local hotel rooms and advertise to people in your communities.
  • Labour Exploitation: a person provides work or service under the threat of penalty; often in inadequate conditions, for little or no pay, or are paid a full wage but are forced to return most of it to the trafficker. The work may be in a legitimate setting such as a farm or restaurant or an illegal setting like a drug lab. The trafficker may hold the victim’s passport to ensure they cannot leave. Vulnerable populations include new Canadians and migrant workers.
  • Domestic Service Exploitation: a person provides domestic tasks and services, mostly within a private household, under physical or psychological threat or coercion. Because the work takes place out of sight in private households, domestic workers can be particularly isolated and are often expected to be at the continuous disposal of the householder .

Human trafficking can also include forced marriage, illegal adoption, forced participation in criminal activities and the trafficking of body organs.

Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world today. Although cases of exploitation are surfacing across Canada, the hidden nature of the crime makes it difficult to estimate the extent of the problem. Prince Edward Island must be prepared to address cases of human trafficking and create appropriate resource networks to support victims.

Human trafficking is a crime against humanity . It is important for a victim to be aware that when they report such crimes, all those involved in assisting them through the process have their safety and well being in mind . Ensuring there are services in place that can provide assistance to the victim is important to the police and assisting service providers.

Need help? Call the National Human Trafficking hotline at 1-833-900-1010 any time, any day of the year