The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking (CCTEHT), a non-government organization, launched the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline on May 29, 2019. A first of its kind in Canada, the hotline is a multi-lingual and confidential service that is operational 24/7, 365 days a year. It connects victims and survivors of human trafficking to law enforcement, emergency shelters, transition housing, long-term supports, counselors, and a range of other trauma-informed services. Services are offered in more than 200 languages and are accessible to the deaf, hard-of-hearing and non-verbal.
Visit the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline website to access a national directory of social services, education/awareness materials, as well as reports and research products.
If you or someone you know may be a victim, call Canada's national human trafficking hotline at 1-833-900-1010.
Human trafficking, or trafficking in persons, is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, often described as a modern day form of slavery. Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation, harbouring and/or exercising control, direction or influence over the movements of a person in order to exploit that person, typically through sexual exploitation or forced labour. Victims, mostly women and children, are deprived of their normal lives and compelled to provide labour or sexual services, through a variety of coercive practices, all for the direct profit of their perpetrators. Exploitation often occurs through intimidation, force, sexual assault and threats of violence to the victims or their families.
Human trafficking differs from human smuggling, as the latter implies the consent of the person who usually pays large sums of money to be smuggled and is free upon arrival at destination.
On September 4, 2019, the Government of Canada announced an investment of $57.22 million over five years, starting in 2019-20, and $10.28 million annually thereafter, in new federal funding to combat human trafficking under a National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking (National Strategy).
The National Strategy puts in place a comprehensive and coordinated framework to guide the Government of Canada’s efforts that will empower victims and survivors; prevent more of these crimes from taking place; better protect those who are most vulnerable to trafficking; prosecute human traffickers for their heinous crimes; and embrace partnerships with provinces and territories and other organizations to maximize the impact.
Building on existing anti-trafficking efforts, the National Strategy puts forward an enhanced suite of measures to combat human trafficking, which include enhanced supports to victims and survivors of human trafficking to regain control and independence; increased awareness and capacity-building efforts to prevent the victimization of vulnerable and marginalized populations; and improved criminal justice system experiences for victims and survivors. The National Strategy is a flexible framework that will guide federal efforts towards combatting human trafficking and allow the Government of Canada to be responsive to new emerging trends.
The National Strategy will help ensure that Canada and individuals are protected from all forms of human trafficking and harms associated with the crime.
Human Trafficking in Canada
Human trafficking is an offence under the Criminal Code of Canada and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The extent of human trafficking, both in Canada and internationally, is difficult to assess due to the hidden nature of the crime, the reluctance of victims and witnesses to come forward to law enforcement and the difficulty of identifying victims. We know that men, women and children fall victim to this crime, although women represent the majority of victims in Canada. Those who are likely to be at-risk include:
- Indigenous women and girls; migrants and new immigrants; LGBTQ2 persons; persons living with disabilities; children in the child welfare system; at-risk youth; those who are socially or economically disadvantaged; and
- migrant workers who may be particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse due to many factors, such as language barriers, working in isolated/remote areas, lack of access to services and support, and lack of access to accurate information about their rights.
If you think someone is a victim of human trafficking, call the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline, 9-1-1, or your local police.
Government Approach to Date
Canada was among the first countries to ratify the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children. Our efforts are guided by the Protocol and, through a four-pillar approach, seek to:
- prevent human trafficking from occurring,
- protect victims of human trafficking,
- bring its perpetrators to justice, and
- build partnerships domestically and internationally.
The Government of Canada's National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, 2012-2016, consolidated the federal government's efforts to combat human trafficking and introduced new initiatives to prevent human trafficking, identify victims, protect the most vulnerable, and prosecute perpetrators. A Human Trafficking Taskforce, led by Public Safety Canada and comprised of key departments, was responsible for overseeing the implementation of the National Action Plan commitments, coordinating the federal anti-human-trafficking response and publicly reporting annually on progress.
The 2016-2017 Horizontal Evaluation of the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking concluded that human trafficking continues to occur in Canada and that a coordinated national approach to tackling this crime is still required. The Human Trafficking Taskforce continues to be the dedicated focal point for federal anti-human-trafficking efforts.
In September and October 2018, Public Safety Canada led national consultations, which were guided by a discussion paper, to inform the Government’s way forward to end human trafficking in Canada, and brought together over 200 stakeholders. Regional roundtables were held in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Montreal, a meeting was held in Ottawa, and a National Summit and Survivor Roundtable were held in Toronto to promote open discussion between the Government of Canada, law enforcement, provinces and territories, Indigenous representatives, sex work organizations, and private sector and civil society stakeholders.
For more information on the consultations, you can visit Consulting with Canadians.
Human Trafficking Legislation
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