Anyone can experience sex trafficking, but there are communities that are more at risk: young women and girls, Indigenous women and girls, Black women and girls, and 2SLGBTQ+ youth. That's because the root cause of human trafficking is inequity.
Common recruitment locations include:
Anyone can watch for signs of human sex trafficking, including:
Human trafficking and human smuggling are often confused. Human trafficking is sexual or labour explotation that can involve cross-border movement, but doesn’t have to. The majority of human trafficking in Canada is domestic.
Over 90% of sex trafficked individuals in Canada are domestic. Ontario is a major centre for human trafficking in Canada and accounts for over 60% of reported cases nationally.
While some demographics are more at-risk, anyone can be trafficked.
Individuals can still live at home and go to school while being trafficked. Some individuals will work to maintain the illusion that everything is fine.
Over one third of trafficked individuals are recruited by men they consider to be their boyfriends. One quarter were trafficked through friends, most often also being trafficked.
Psychological controlling, manipulation and monitoring strips an individual’s ability to seek help. Some trafficked individuals may not even know they’re being trafficked. Some might believe that their trafficker knows what’s best for them.
Kidnapping is rarely used in sex trafficking. Many sex traffickers lure and hold individuals through witholding of basic needs, psychological grooming, and manipulation. Trafficked individuals often feel like their traffickers love them and may not see red flags until it’s too late.
Sex trafficking is sex work that is coerced. This includes manipulation and tricking someone into performing sex acts, a third party taking pictures of the individual, posting ads, and deciding what sex services will be offered. Threats of meeting a financial quota can be involved.
Physical violence can be used to a degree, but psychological manipulation is far more effective.