Legal Protections and Support for Trafficked Persons

One of the biggest hurdles preventing a trafficked person from contacting police or testifying in court is fear for themselves, their family and friends. The person may also be wary of revealing embarrassing or humiliating details in court. Some may also be afraid of deportation. To help alleviate these fears, the Criminal Code includes laws to protect against threats, intimidation or harassment by the trafficker when reporting a criminal offence or testifying in court. Anyone who tries to intimidate a trafficked person could go to jail for up to 14 years.

Also, in Canada, people who have been trafficked may be offered a number of supports for testifying in court. In particular, children and vulnerable witnesses may be able to:  

  • Request a support person, such as a victim services worker, to accompany them to court.
  • Apply for an order to exclude the public during their testimony.
  • Testify behind a privacy screen.
  • Ban the media from publishing their name. 

In the following video, Professor Benjamin Perrin explains the court supports available for trafficked persons in Canada.

Court Support for Trafficked Persons

(Video runtime 1:44)

(Transcript for the Court Support for Trafficked Persons video.)

A Crime Victim’s Guide to the Criminal Justice System contains general information on testimonial aids, victim impact statements and other supports available to those who testify in court.

In addition to federal laws, provincial child welfare and child protection legislation may be relevant when dealing with cases of sexually exploited children. For example, see Alberta’s Protection of Sexually Exploited Children Act (PSECA).

Manitoba’s Legislation on Human Trafficking

In April 2012, Manitoba passed The Child Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking Act. This law creates a protection order that requires the exploiter/trafficker to stay away from the victim. It also allows a victim of human trafficking to sue the trafficker for money.


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