National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking
2021-2023 Report


Human trafficking remains an appalling crime - one that leaves a profound impact on victims and survivors, their friends, families and communities. Canada remains steadfast in our commitment to counter human trafficking.

This report highlights efforts undertaken by federal departments between April 1, 2021, to March 31, 2023, to advance key commitments under the National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking (National Strategy).

Human trafficking, also referred to as “trafficking in persons”, involves the recruiting, transportation, transferring, receiving, holding, concealing or harbouring of a person - or the exercise of control, direction or influence over the movements of a person for the purpose of exploitation, typically for sexual exploitation or forced labour. Canada’s Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), outline specific human trafficking offences that are punishable with maximum penalties as high as life imprisonment, as well as offences requiring mandatory minimum penalties.

The National Strategy is supported by an investment of over $60 million (2019-2024) and $10 million on-going to advance specific measures to address human trafficking under five pillars: empowerment, prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships. Led by Public Safety Canada, this commitment is shared with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA); Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC); Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC); Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC); and Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE).

Several other federal departments and agencies contribute to Canada’s work to combat this crime. These include: Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada (CIRNAC); Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC); Global Affairs Canada (GAC); Indigenous Services Canada (ISC); Department of Justice Canada (Justice Canada); Department of National Defense; Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP); Statistics Canada; Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC); and others.

Years three and four of the National Strategy marked a period of growth and resilience. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, people’s vulnerabilities to trafficking were heightened. Federal departments and agencies continued to deliver supports to victims and survivors of this devastating crime, while adapting to its changing nature, which is increasingly being facilitated online. Further, departments and agencies worked toward increasing awareness domestically and internationally, in addition to strengthening partnerships and capacity across various sectors.

Victims of human trafficking are often isolated and may be reluctant to come forward for help. As a result of the hidden nature of this crime, police-reported and court-related data provide a partial view of its extent. During this reporting period, Statistics Canada’s Canadian Centre for Justice and Community Safety StatisticsFootnote 1 reported that in 2021 there were 555 police-reported incidents of human trafficking with 418 victims identified; and in 2022, 528 incidents were reported by police with 439 victims identified.

Human trafficking is a complex crime; it is highly gendered, with root causes that include a lack of social supports, education, and employment opportunities, compounded by poverty, sexism, racism, and wage inequality. Due to the complex nature, the National Strategy also supports related cross-government commitments concerning gender-based violence (GBV) and the safety and security of Indigenous (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) peoples; for example the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UNDA) Action Plan, led by Justice Canada.

In addition, on November 9, 2022, the National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence (NAP to End GBV), was launched. The NAP to End GBV is a ten-year federal-provincial-territorial framework for action, with a vision of a Canada free of gender-based violence, which includes human trafficking.Footnote 2 Following the launch of the NAP to End GBV, Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) began working with provinces and territories to establish bilateral agreements that support the implementation of the Plan. These bilateral agreements are flexible to best support each jurisdiction’s unique needs and priorities. For more details on the agreements, please consult WAGE’s website.


This report highlights efforts and areas of progress achieved during fiscal years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 under the National Strategy’s five pillars of empowerment, prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships. For further information, see Public Safety Canada’s Departmental Results Report (DRR 2021-2022 and DRR 2022-2023).


Initiatives under the empowerment pillar of the National Strategy between 2021-2023 continued to support victims and survivors to regain control and independence and encouraged action by industry partners:  

Supporting victims and survivors

In 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 fiscal years, Public Safety Canada continued to support 12 projects for nearly $2,953,386 through the Contribution Program to Combat Serious and Organized Crime, Community-Based Trauma-Informed Empowerment Projects stream.

Projects spanned across Canada and focused on providing services and supports, and/or tools to victims and survivors of human trafficking. For example:

WAGE continued to support 42 projects for nearly $14 million through the Human Trafficking Initiative. The Initiative assists organizations in developing and implementing promising prevention or intervention practices that will advance knowledge and support for at-risk populations, and victims and survivors of human trafficking. At-risk populations include women and girls, Indigenous women and girls, 2SLGBTQI+ peoples, children and youth.

Many of the promising practices focus on trauma-informed prevention training, peer support and educational programs. For example:

Further, in 2022-2023, WAGE continued to prevent and address gender-based violence through the funding of targeted initiatives that address areas of concern, including anti-human trafficking initiatives. WAGE held a Call for Proposals to address gender-based violence through promising practices and community-based research. This call for proposals included a priority for projects that prevent human trafficking for at-risk populations and enhance supports for victims and survivors of human trafficking.

Tackling human trafficking in federal procurement supply chains

PSPC made a number of key advancements to eliminate the potential risks of human trafficking and forced labour in federal procurement supply chains. In 2021, the University of Nottingham’s Rights Lab, conducted a risk analysis of PSPC’s supply chains to determine which goods were at the highest risk of exposure to human trafficking, forced labour, and child labour. The risk assessment has informed the development of an evidence-based approach to addressing labour exploitation in federal procurement supply chains. Notable recommendations from the risk assessment include: working with suppliers of at-risk goods to raise awareness of challenges in their supply chains, developing a human and labour rights framework, and implementing an ethical procurement policy.

PSPC also updated its Code of Conduct for Procurement (the Code) to include human and labour rights expectations for suppliers. The Code is included in all Government of Canada procurements. In addition, PSPC implemented new anti-forced labour clauses in all goods contracts to ensure that it can terminate contracts where there is credible information that goods were produced in whole or in part by forced labour or human trafficking. Work is underway to expand the clauses to other methods of supply. The implementation of these clauses is part of an ongoing commitment to ensure that federal procurements are made with suppliers that maintain their supply chains free of human trafficking and forced labour.

In 2022-2023, PSPC delivered two supplier engagement sessions on ethical procurement to raise awareness on supply chain risks, outline departmental human and labour rights priorities, and promote greater, ongoing dialogue with the supplier community. These sessions provided suppliers with a forum where they could discuss challenges and opportunities in combatting human trafficking, forced labour, and child labour in federal supply chains.

In addition, PSPC conducted a mapping of international due diligence obligations for businesses to report on actions taken to address the risks of forced labour and human rights violations. PSPC also began developing awareness materials for suppliers of at-risk goods, with a view to promoting ethical procurement best practices and safeguarding federal procurement supply chains.

Building on research to date, work is underway with the drafting of a Policy on Ethical Procurement focusing on the prevention of human rights abuses in federal procurement supply chains. The purpose of the Policy will be to define, formalize and frame Departmental commitments to ethical procurement, and to establish the basis for ethical procurement programs, initiatives and frameworks to advance these commitments. Once the Policy is finalized, a subsequent Human Rights Due Diligence framework will be developed to outline specific obligations.


Prevention efforts are essential to tackling human trafficking in all its forms. Between 2021-2023, initiatives under the prevention pillar continued to work to increase awareness and build capacity to prevent human trafficking in Canada and abroad. Initiatives under this pillar include:

Increasing awareness of human trafficking

In early 2021, Public Safety Canada launched a national campaign (“It’s not what it seems”) to raise awareness of the prevalence of human trafficking in Canada, informing the public of common misunderstandings on the crime, and how to safely report suspected cases. The campaign targets the public, with a focus on youth, parents, and at-risk populations.

Research on public awareness of human trafficking showed an improvement between 2019-2022 on public knowledge of human trafficking reporting procedures (an 8% increase). A five-year quantitative tracking survey will be completed in 2024 to re-evaluate public opinions, knowledge and to observe improvements made in human trafficking general awareness during the campaign period.

In coordination with paid advertising and proactive media outreach, Public Safety Canada launched a second phase of the national experiential marketing (XM) tour in 2022. The XM tour informed the public of potential warning signs of human trafficking, addressed common misperceptions, and shared facts and resources through the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline to report suspected incidences. Video and digital advertising tactics were delivered through platforms such as YouTube, Spotify, and Snapchat, targeting youth and young adults, including young Indigenous women. Since the public awareness launch, the campaign has generated over 169 million impressions with over 30 million video views. Public awareness information and resources can be found at the Public Safety human trafficking campaign page.

Between 2021-2023, the public awareness campaign website which served as the central online destination for all advertising and marketing activities, generated nearly 338,000 web visits (approximately 305,000 English and 33,000 French) and 4,477 outbound connections to the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline to seek out help.

Building on these efforts, Canada continued to leverage the United Nations World Day Against Trafficking In Persons to bring awareness to the issue of Human Trafficking for both the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labour and to highlight Canada’s actions to address this crime through the National Strategy.

Webpages for the National Strategy were frequently updated to promote federal programs and funding opportunities between 2021-2023. In this timeframe, there were over 35,000 visits to the English web pages, and over 3,000 to the French pages. These results are comparable with previous years, indicating that that the content has remained relevant. The website now includes downloadable educational materials on human trafficking in Canada, such as anti-human trafficking milestones, a human trafficking-related legislative offences fact sheet, and a glossary of terms. An “exit quickly” button was also added to all pages, and was a top performing outbound link click, demonstrating the value of this type of audience safety mechanism.

Additionally, starting in 2020 Public Safety Canada hosted annually a three-part webinar series on human trafficking to increase awareness and engage key stakeholders across Canada, with over 600 participants annually. A summary of the 2022 and 2023 webinars can be found at the Public Safety human trafficking tools and resources page.

Further, Public Safety Canada continued to support the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking’s multilingual, 24/7 toll-free Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline that refers victims to local law enforcement, shelters and a range of other supports and services. In February 2022, the Centre activated an educational awareness campaign around National Human Trafficking Awareness Day to bring attention to the issue and help the most vulnerable. “The World’s Most Understanding Hotline” campaign raised awareness of the Hotline. It can be accessed at 1-833-900-1010 or via website at the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline.

ESDC also contributed to the goal of increasing awareness of human trafficking by providing key information on the Temporary foreign workers: Your rights are protected page (ESDC), in multiple languages, to inform temporary foreign workers (TFWs) on their rights and ways to report abuse or misuse of the TFW Program. This includes how to self-assess and report abusive situations and suspected cases of trafficking.

As part of the Government of Canada’s broader commitment to protecting temporary foreign workers from mistreatment and abuse, the new Migrant Worker Support (MWS) program was launched in 2022 (totaling $49.5 million committed in Budget 2021). The MWS program provides funding to over 120 community organizations across Canada by providing in-community and on-arrival services to support migrant workers to learn about and exercise their rights. Funded organizations do so by providing migrant worker-centric support programs and services, such as on-arrival orientation services, information workshops, legal support, and assistance in emergency and at-risk situations.

The main focus of the MWS program is on informing and supporting vulnerable migrant workers more generally. That said, some of the migrant workers that these organizations encounter are victims of human trafficking who are seeking support. For these individuals, funded organizations provide support in several ways. They may assist individuals to leave an exploiter by providing safe exiting, trauma coping tools, counselling services, emergency housing support, legal assistance, and assistance navigating government and social service processes such as health care, or applying for special work permits for abused or trafficked individuals. In certain cases, this funding enabled community organizations to support workers who are victims and survivors of human trafficking or who are at risk of being trafficked, including support to leave abusive situations and apply for an open work permit for vulnerable workers or temporary resident permit for victims of human trafficking. Funding has also been used to provide community organizations with the information, networking opportunities, and training that they need to support the temporary foreign worker population, such as a webinar on "Recognizing and Assisting Victims of Labour Trafficking". Resources are available through the online Migrant Worker Hub to facilitate access to consistent and accurate resources for temporary foreign workers, the organizations that assist them, and their employers.

ESDC also operates a confidential tip line and online reporting tool, where TFWs and other parties can anonymously report situations of potential wrongdoing and/or misuse of the Program. The Department’s confidential tip line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with live agents offering services in 200 languages Monday to Friday from 6:30 am to 8:00 pm Eastern time. All allegations are reviewed and appropriate action is taken. If criminal activity is suspected, the information is forwarded to law enforcement agencies such as the RCMP and CBSA.

In September 2022, ESDC introduced further regulatory amendments to the IRPR to strengthen the Temporary Foreign Worker Program’s employer compliance regime. New measures included:

The Government of Canada has implemented a series of measures to prevent and detect cases of human trafficking for domestic servitude in diplomatic households, and to address situations of exploitation and vulnerabilities of accredited domestic workers. These measures, which were maintained during the COVID-19 pandemic and are still in place, include an outreach program that targets both employees and employers.

GAC’s Office of Protocol, in collaboration with IRCC, conducted outreach to domestic workers on various topics, including human trafficking, before they arrived in Canada and throughout their stay, ensuring more broadly that prospective employees understand their contractual rights and obligations. As part of the visa approval process, Canada also assessed prospective domestic workers’ basic fluency in English or French. This is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of these employees (as well as for the individuals in their care) and that they could function in an unsupervised setting.

Support for organizations combatting human trafficking

From 2021 to 2023, through the Contribution Program to Combat Serious and Organized Crime, through the Pilot Projects for At-Risk Youth stream, Public Safety Canada contributed $1,155,082 for seven community-based organizations to deliver innovative initiatives geared towards raising awareness of human trafficking among at-risk youth and preventive actions. For example:

The Government of Canada also supported anti-human trafficking efforts abroad through GACs’ Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program to enhance the capacity of beneficiary states to prevent and respond to threats posed by international criminal activity with a focus on the Americas. One of priorities of the Program is to combat human trafficking. Six projects continued or started to be funded through this program in during 2021-2023; including the following two:

Improving knowledge on human trafficking

Public Safety Canada continues to support the release of police-reported and court related data on human trafficking. In Canada, data from the Uniform Crime ReportingFootnote 3 Survey and the Integrated Criminal Court Survey,Footnote 4 collected by Statistics Canada’s Canadian Centre for Justice and Community Safety Statistics, are primary sources of data. According to these data, police-reported incidents of human trafficking in Canada have generally increased year over year since 2010.

On December 6, 2022, Statistics Canada released “Trafficking in persons in Canada, 2021.” This article uses police-reported data about offences under both the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to examine human trafficking trends, the age and gender of victims and accused persons, and court case outcomes. Prior to that, in 2021, Statistics Canada released “Trafficking in persons in Canada, 2020,” which also included a special section on linked data. Analysis included more detail about persons accused of human trafficking, including the number of times traffickers came into contact with the police—as persons accused of crime—before and after they were accused of human trafficking, the types of crimes they engaged in, and whether they acted alone or co-offended

In March 2023, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the RCMP brought together anti-human trafficking organizations and Inuit regions for the first of its kind, Anti-Human Trafficking Knowledge Exchange Event. The event created a space for organizations and law enforcement to come together to begin work on improving anti-human trafficking prevention measures of Inuit women and girls through strengthened partnerships and increased knowledge around the trafficking of Inuit.


Initiatives under the protection pillar of the National Strategy continued throughout 2021-2023 to train officials and address gaps in existing supports to ensure the provision of culturally informed services. For example:

Protecting victims and survivors

Justice Canada provided $2,503,754 in funding to ten projects in 2021-2022 and to nine projects in 2022-2023 through the Victims Fund. These projects improved services for victims and survivors of human trafficking, developed and delivered training for law enforcement officers and frontline service providers who worked directly with victims and survivors of human trafficking. For example:

RENEW Mental Health and Addictions Program
The Governing Council of the Salvation Army in Canada Illuminate (formerly Deborah’s Gate) offered a mental health and addictions program for women and girls who are victims and survivors of human trafficking. The project provided trauma-sensitive addiction and mental health supports through individual counselling, group sessions, and multimodal education (video, audio, restorative therapies), for current, graduated, and outreach clients.
Rural Outreach and Aboriginal Engagement
Envision Counselling and Support Centre provided services for Indigenous victims and survivors of sexual exploitation and interpersonal violence living in rural and isolated communities and living on reserves in remote and rural regions of southeast Saskatchewan.
The Essentials Program
New Opportunities for Women Canada Society offered a program for victims and survivors of human trafficking, sexual exploitation, abuse and addictions that provided immediate safe housing, a four-month life skills program and individualized client support.

Training for front-line community workers

Public Safety Canada advanced the development of guidelines for front-line community workers who support Individuals who have or may have experienced human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labour. In 2022, two targeted requests for proposals were launched for the development of these guidelines.

Training for officials

Border officials received training through the CBSA Officer Induction Training Program, where all Border Service Officer (BSO) recruits were introduced to the issue of human trafficking through the People at Risk lesson. This lesson trained new recruits to distinguish between smuggled migrants and trafficked persons, recognize the indicators associated with persons who may be victims of human trafficking, and how to deal effectively with human trafficking cases. Between 2021-2023, 864 BSO recruits completed the People at Risk lesson.

In addition, CBSA provided the “Trafficking in Persons” online course to its BSOs, Criminal Investigators, Liaison Officers, Intelligence Officers, Inland Enforcement Officers, and other officers who may come in contact with a victim or perpetrator. This course trained participants on how to help prevent or intercept cases, promote victim safety by referring individuals to government services and non-governmental organizations for assistance, and support investigations. Between 2021-2023, 995 employees, including BSOs, frontline officers and other employees, completed the course.

Since 2016, all new IRCC Foreign Service Development Officers complete mandatory training on human trafficking. Since 2019, training on human trafficking has been rolled out to all employees in IRCC’s overseas processing offices Community, including officers, locally engaged staff, and headquarters staff. In 2022, decision-makers posted overseas were strongly encouraged to complete the training. In early 2024, all of the members of the International Community will be informed of the new online training (Trafficking in Persons) and reminded of the importance to complete the training as part of their learning activities.

In IRCC’s network of officers in Canada, new officers were provided mandatory training in accordance with the Ministerial Instructions, Program Delivery instructions, and the standard operating procedures. This included departmental training specifically on working with cases and interviewing persons with victims of human trafficking, vulnerable workers, or victims of violence. Officers also participated in scheduled case conferencing to help share valuable information.

Protecting foreign nationals

In 2021-2022, IRCC issued approximately 81 Victims of Trafficking in Persons Temporary Resident Permits (VTIP TRPs) to out-of-status foreign national victims and their dependents, and approximately 166 were issued in 2022-2023. Further, IRCC continued its research and analysis efforts towards updating its policy tools and program delivery guidance for completion by Spring 2024.

To protect foreign nationals from forced labour and other exploitative and abusive situations, ESDC's TFW program has an employer compliance regime in place that includes unannounced on-site inspections in addition to other compliance activities such as administrative reviews and announced on-site inspections. From April 1, 2021, to March 31, 2023, ESDC assessed 9,881 leads and allegations of potential abuse from the TFW Program. Of those allegations, 357 were human trafficking and/or exploitation related. In instances where temporary foreign workers may not feel comfortable reporting abuse, for fear of reprisal, ESDC encourages them to use the government confidential tip line.

Immigration investigations

IRCC conducted large-scale administrative investigations into human trafficking that identify potential foreign national victims and/or perpetrators of human trafficking. Approximately ten human trafficking investigations were initiated each year to support enforcement partners and provide valuable information to immigration officers globally, to better detect cases of human trafficking.


Between 2021-2023, initiatives under the prosecution pillar continued the work to increase the criminal justice system capacity to identify and prosecute human trafficking cases. For example:

In the article, “Trafficking in persons in Canada, 2022,” Statistics Canada provides information on human trafficking cases that reached adult criminal and youth courts. According to data from the Integrated Criminal Court Survey, there were 1,066 cases involving 3,523 human trafficking charges completed in adult criminal court between 2011/2012 and 2021/2022 in Canada. In general, the number of human trafficking cases and charges has increased over this time.

Cross-border movements

During 2021-2023, seven new criminal investigation cases of suspected human trafficking were identified, including those referred to police, pursued jointly with police, and cases of CBSA human trafficking charges secondary to other IRPA charges. Five suspected human trafficking cases were reviewed by the CBSA immigration enforcement investigations, which were identified under transnational trafficking in persons cases that fall under IRPA 37(1)(b) inadmissibility provision.

CBSA’s National Targeting Centre provides an ongoing review of existing scenario based targeting rules, as well as the creation of new scenarios to focus on new trends and areas of concern. Twenty scenario-based rules were reviewed and six new ones were developed. A total of 140 intelligence products were also developed to support the identification of suspected cases of human trafficking.

Training for law enforcement

The RCMP’s National Human Trafficking Section (previously called the Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre), in consultation with law enforcement, lawyers and service providers, continues to partner with the Canadian Police Knowledge Network (CPKN) to provide an “Introduction to Human Trafficking” on-line course for Canadian law enforcement. This course is available in both official languages to all Canadian law enforcement personnel through the CPKN website and the RCMP internal website. The primary goal of this learning initiative is to provide learners, particularly frontline police officers who have limited knowledge and experience in dealing with human trafficking investigations, with an overview of human trafficking including legislation, victim assistance, basic investigative techniques and referral mechanisms. The RCMP is currently working to replace the course with one that is survivor-led. The “Survivor-Led Human Trafficking Detection Training” course has been available in English and French on the CPKN platform to Canadian law enforcement officials (federal, provincial and municipal) since December 2022. This course is unique in that additional modules have been and will continue to be developed with the course creator to provide the most up to date information and trends in human trafficking. Furthermore, the Canadian Police College continues to offer the Human Trafficking Investigators Course to law enforcement personnel from across Canada.

In 2022, the RCMP updated policy pertaining to human trafficking investigations within its operational manual to reflect legislative changes and evolving investigative techniques in order to support the front-line officers in combating this crime. The policy provides guidelines and procedures to follow when RCMP members are investigating suspected cases of human trafficking.

Tracing the money

Launched in 2016, Project Protect is a public-private partnership aimed at combatting human trafficking through enhanced financial intelligence that supports investigations and prosecutions. Under this Project, FINTRAC developed an Operational Alert, “The laundering of illicit proceeds from human trafficking for sexual exploitation”, in order to increase awareness and understanding of money laundering in relation to human trafficking. The alert includes a comprehensive list of indicators to assist businesses in identifying financial transactions and patterns of activities related to human trafficking and to report to FINTRAC, accordingly.

Under the auspices of Project Protect, based on the reporting by private sector reporting entities, FINTRAC has provided over 1600 disclosures of actionable financial intelligence, including thousands of transaction reports, to Canada's municipal, provincial and federal police forces in support of their human trafficking investigations. The majority of these disclosures were provided proactively, meaning that they potentially identified individuals and/or networks within the financial intelligence that may have been previously unknown to law enforcement.

In the 2022-2023 fiscal year, FINTRAC provided disclosures in support of 21 project-level investigations concerning human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation:

FINTRAC further produces valuable strategic intelligence to inform the public, private sector entities, and other government departments and agencies about trends, developments and patterns related to the laundering of the proceeds of human trafficking. This included a strategic intelligence assessment in March 2023 that leveraged financial intelligence to surface key geographic trends and developments, as well as the nature and extent, of suspicions related to the laundering of the proceeds of human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The analysis produced by FINTRAC on the observed financial criminal behaviours presents opportunities for law enforcement to identify, detect, and disrupt the associated criminal activities.


Throughout 2021-2023, federal, provincial, and territorial governments, non-governmental organizations and others worked collaboratively to address cross-cutting issues and trends related to human trafficking under the partnerships pillar. For example:

Domestic collaboration

The Human Trafficking Taskforce, which was first established under the 2012-2016 National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, continued to convene to oversee the implementation of the National Strategy and to coordinate federal efforts against human trafficking. During the reporting period, the taskforce regularly shared information, solutions and research to support the achievement of objectives under the National Strategy; continued to convene task team meetings on key themes to strengthen efforts to combat human trafficking; collaborated to respond to international requests, performance and financial reporting; and implemented a new initiative for partner departments to present and highlight their ongoing work under the National Strategy. 

During the period of April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, the CBSA established a dedicated expert group to coordinate, consult and develop strategies to combat human trafficking to improve the Agency’s ability to identify, intercept and investigate instances of human trafficking overseas, at the border, and in Canada. The CBSA’s efforts will ensure that CBSA officers, in Canada and abroad, are better prepared when detecting, investigating and disrupting human trafficking.

FINTRAC provided ten presentations in 2021–2022 and 12 presentations in 2022-2023 related to Project Protect to various stakeholders engaged in the fight against human trafficking across Canada. For example, audiences included the RCMP, the Ontario Provincial Police, and municipal law enforcement agencies across Canada, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police National Human Trafficking Symposium, the Ontario Police College Human Trafficking Investigators Course, the Canadian Police College Human Trafficking Investigators Course and Crown Counsels across Canada. These trainings demonstrated how law enforcement uses financial intelligence within FINTRAC disclosures in their investigations and how this intelligence can be leveraged to support human trafficking prosecutions.

ISC leads a number of programs and initiatives that contribute to addressing human trafficking, most often through supporting Indigenous-led projects and approaches that directly and indirectly support anti-human trafficking efforts. For example:

Family Violence Prevention Program funds violence prevention activities that includes empowering Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people to reduce the risk of vulnerability to violence and human trafficking and sexual exploitation. The program supports human trafficking related activities, including a two-year project which provided access to employment readiness and skill development training, and mental health and counselling services to human trafficking survivors.

There has been an increased demand for services related to 2SLGBTQI+, human trafficking and sexual exploitation, men and boys, and mental health supports. ISC is working with partners on the front lines, including shelter directors, and colleagues in the regions to better understand the needs and further identify gaps in services.

Pathways to Safe Indigenous Communities includes two Indigenous designed and led projects to help address human trafficking:

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami brought together key stakeholders such as RCMP, front line Inuit anti-human trafficking organizations, survivors and representatives from each region in Inuit Nunangat to produce a guide to inform the development of protocols for police services for monitoring and information sharing with Inuit land claim organizations regarding Inuit trafficking.

The Métis Nation of Ontario increased the capacity of its Community Wellbeing Branch, which offers anti-human trafficking and victims services programs and funds the delivery of culturally relevant and holistic services for Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQI+ people.

The Pathways to Safe Indigenous Communities initiative funds projects that address the safety and wellbeing needs of Indigenous communities, which can have a positive impact on reducing the risk of violence, abuse, vulnerability to human trafficking or other harm.

Federal/provincial/territorial collaboration

The Government of Canada continued its engagement with it’s federal, provincial, and territorial (FPT) partners at various levels. For example, the Justice Canada led-FPT Coordinating Committee of Senior Officials on Human Trafficking, and the FPT Trafficking in Persons Working Group, co-chaired by Public Safety Canada and the Government of Ontario, meet to share information and advance priorities for collective action.

International engagement

Canada enhanced its engagement internationally and bilaterally with key international partners to promote the use of international legal instruments and share best practices and lessons learned. This engagement took place through participation in regional and multilateral processes such as the United Nations General Assembly; United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) including the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, its Conference of Parties and its Working Group on Trafficking in Persons; Alliance 8.7; the Organization of American States; the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; the International Labour Organization; the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM – Americas); the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime; the Global Compact for Migration; the Global Compact for Refugees, the G20, the G7 and its Roma-Lyon Group. To learn more about these forums visit: National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking: Annual Report 2020-2021.

Since July 1, 2020, the Customs Tariff prohibits the import of all goods manufactured or produced by forced labour into Canada regardless of origin. The CBSA continues to work closely with ESDC’s Labour Program to develop a way forward to strengthen the Forced Labour regime as part of the Government of Canada’s commitment in Budget 2023 to strengthen the import prohibition, and the Minister of Labour’s mandate, with support from the Minister of Public Safety, among others, to introduce legislation to eradicate forced labour in Canadian supply chains in 2024.

From 2021 to 2023, FINTRAC provided 19 international presentations related to Project Protect. Audiences included the UNODC, the International Law Enforcement Training Network, and the Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists. FINTRAC has been called upon to share experiences on establishing effective public-private partnerships for financial intelligence to audiences in Europe and Central America. In addition, FINTRAC participated and contributed to the success of the UN Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking Initiative through the delivery of a training session on human trafficking and modern slavery at the Egmont Plenary in summer 2022. This session highlighted the contribution financial intelligent units could make in efforts to end labour exploitation and human trafficking, and included the sharing of FINTRAC case studies, good practices, and lessons learned.

FINTRAC hosted annual webinars in support of the United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. The 2021 webinar focused on raising awareness on human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, and, in 2022, in collaboration with Public Safety Canada and the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking, the webinar focused on human trafficking for the purposes of labour exploitation.

FINTRAC continued to work closely with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, sharing insight and best practices related to Project Protect. This included providing a presentation on this seminal public-private partnership to the Australian Fintel Alliance Executive Board in November 2021.

FINTRAC also led a presentation on the critical role played by financial intelligence units in public-private partnerships targeting human trafficking at the plenary for the Cercle des Cellules de Renseignements Financiers Francophones du Group Egmont in fall 2021. FINTRAC is an active participant in this group, which is dedicated to French-speaking financial intelligence units whose focus is on combatting money laundering and terrorist financing.

Public Safety Canada also participated in the Trilateral Working Group on Trafficking in Persons with the United States and Mexico, and G7 and Five Country Ministerial meetings related to this issue, and engaged international partners and multilateral organizations such as the UNODC and the Organization for Security Co-operation of Europe in collaboration with GAC.

Further, in collaboration with Indigenous leaders, government officials, and subject-matter experts from Canada, CIRNAC to hosted the Fifth Convening of the Trilateral Working Group on Violence against Indigenous Women and Girls in Ottawa in September 2023, with a focus on human trafficking and access to justice. Mexico has assumed chair ship of the Working Group as of January 2024.


Considerable work in all five pillars of the National Strategy, empowerment, prevention, protection, prosecution and partnerships, was undertaken in fiscal years 2021-2022 and 2022-2023.

Efforts during this time helped strengthen community-based, trauma-informed and culturally relevant support services for victims and survivors; increase awareness and knowledge of what human trafficking is among Canadians, at-risk and vulnerable populations and front-line staff in key industry sectors; and strengthen partnerships, legal frameworks and law enforcement capacity.

The Government of Canada will continue to build upon its measures and look for ways to further prevent human trafficking through effective and targeted awareness and intervention; to protect and meet the needs of victims and survivors; strengthen partnerships, and to prosecute offenders.

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