What is Human Trafficking?

The United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines trafficking in persons as:

“The act of recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons ... by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person ... for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum:

  • the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation,
  • forced labour or services,
  • slavery or practices similar to slavery,
  • servitude,
  • or the removal of organs.”

The Difference between Domestic and International Human Trafficking

Domestic Human Trafficking

Domestic trafficking occurs when the crime takes place entirely within Canada’s borders. The trafficked person may be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, visitor, temporary worker or student.

In Canada, Aboriginal women and youth are uniquely vulnerable to trafficking for sexual exploitation due to factors including:

  • The effects colonization
  • Residential school abuse
  • Poverty
  • Gender inequity
  • Discrimination

International Human Trafficking

International trafficking occurs when a person is brought into Canada to be exploited.

A trafficker may bring the trafficked person into the country using a temporary work permit or a visa, or smuggle them across international borders using false documents or by routes that are undetected by border authorities.

The Difference between Human Trafficking and Human Smuggling

Human trafficking and human smuggling are not the same thing.

Smuggling is when a person pays to be transported illegally to a new country and is free from the smuggler on arrival.

Human trafficking is when a trafficked person is exploited by a trafficker. People who pay to be smuggled to another country are considered trafficked if they are kept captive or exploited on their arrival.

Nonetheless, not all human trafficking involves crossing international borders. People can be trafficked within a country, too. This is referred to as domestic trafficking.