About Human Trafficking

Human trafficking consists of exploitation in conjunction with force, coercion, deception, fraud, and threat. Exploitation can occur through forced labour, forced sexual service or more than one of these.

Human trafficking for sexual exploitation involves the use of:

  • Force
  • Coercion
  • Deception
  • Fraud 
  • Threat 

In order to sexually exploit another (i.e. make her provide sexual services) for money or other valuables. While it can affect anyone, sexual exploitation through human trafficking is a crime that disproportionately affects women and girls.

Marginalized and exploited populations of women – for example, youth, sexual minority including trans persons, socioeconomically disadvantaged and Indigenous women and girls – are most vulnerable to being targeted.

Vulnerabilities that Increase Risk of Trafficking

Factors that increase a person’s risk of being targeted or trapped into situations of sexual trafficking include the following: 

  • A lack of awareness about sexual violence, including sexual exploitation through trafficking 
  • Past history of violence: for example, childhood abuse
  • Poverty
  • Transient or unstable housing 
  • Use of drugs or alcohol/addiction
  • A lack of social supports
  • Gaps in services in a community, or barriers to reaching help 

Learn more about human trafficking, warning flags of trafficking, tips for service providers and local helping resources

1. Women`s Support Network of York Region. 2013. The Educator’s  Resource Manual: Addressing Trafficking For The Purpose Of Commercial Sexual Exploitation, p. 6

2. Sethi, A. 2007. Domestic Sex Trafficking of Indigenous Girls in Canada: Issues and Implications. In First Peoples Child & Family Review: A Journal on Innovation and Best Practices in Indigenous Child Welfare Administration, Research, Policy & Practice, Vol 3, November 2007: 57-71. Online source: http://www.fncaringsociety.com/sites/default/files/online-journal/vol3num3/Sethi_57.pdf