Build a Trusting Relationship with Trafficked Persons

  • Explain your role carefully and how you and your organization can help.
  • Share first names and talk about normal day-to-day things at first.
  • Be patient, go slowly and allow time for the person to express themselves in their own way at their own pace.
  • Do not mention to the person that they may have been trafficked. In many cases, the person we see as the victim or trafficked person may not perceive themselves that way. They may see their trafficker as a partner, employer, trusted friend or family member. Respect their own assessment of their situation.
  • Ensure confidentiality. If the person knows their information will not go anywhere else, they may be more likely to speak freely. Tell them that everything they say to you is confidential. Assure them that you will not contact the police, immigration officials or anyone else without their consent (unless the person is an immediate threat to themselves or others, or is a minor, in which case you should follow your agency’s duty-to-report protocols or call the police).
  • Don’t make assumptions. If you don’t understand what they are saying, ask for clarification and give time for explanations. If their first language is not the same as yours, consider involving a qualified interpreter (see Module 4).

Duty to Report for Minors

Under Canadian child welfare laws, every person in Canada has the duty to report child abuse and neglect if they know or suspect it is occurring. Each province/territory has different reporting mechanisms which may include child welfare organizations, provincial/territorial social service ministries and/or local police. To find your local child welfare agency and phone numbers, please visit the Canadian Child Welfare Research Portal.

Play the following video in which Rose Henry, an Aboriginal community consultant from the Coast Salish territory, explains why it is important to allow people to tell their own stories, in their own way.

Building a Trusting Relationship

(Video runtime 02:12)

(Transcript for the Building a Trusting Relationship video.)


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