Human Trafficking in Canada

In Canada, the term “trafficking in persons” commonly brings on images of young Eastern European women deceived into sexual slavery in the back rooms of strip clubs in Toronto, or young Asian women forced into prostitution in seedy massage parlors in Vancouver. But that’s only part of the story.

  • The majority of cases encountered by law enforcement involve sexual exploitation.
  • Most women trafficked from overseas to work in the sex trade come from Eastern Europe and Asia. European women tend are usually between 21 and 38 years old, and work in escort agencies. They were recruited to Canada through advertisements on websites and in newspapers.
  • The majority of domestically trafficked women and girls are recruited between the ages of 14 and 25 via the Internet or by an acquaintance. Most are economically vulnerable or teenage runaways.
  • Aboriginal women and girls are over-represented among those who are trafficked in Canada. Yet most Aboriginal females do not fit the above stereotypes: they speak the language, have clothing and basic necessities, are often paid and allowed time off, and can often move around.

*several reports, including Project Seclusion: Human Trafficking in Canada, & HT in Canada: A Threat Assessment

How Big is the Problem?

It is difficult to estimate the number of people who have been trafficked in Canada. The crime is hidden and clandestine, and victims are often reluctant to come forward on their own.