Human trafficking can include recruiting, harbouring or controlling a person's movements using force, physical or psychological coercion, or deception. Traffickers often make victims do labour (e.g., domestic, physical, and manual labour) or sexual services.

What should I do if I think someone is a victim of trafficking?

If there is immediate danger or if you suspect someone is being trafficked, the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) urges you to call 9-1-1.

You may also call the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-833-900-1010.

Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline

The Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline is a confidential, multilingual service, operating 24/7 to connect victims and survivors with social services, law enforcement, and emergency services, as well as to receive tips from the public.

The hotline uses a victim-centered approach when connecting human trafficking victims and survivors with local emergency, transition, and/or long-term supports and services across the country, as well as connecting callers to law enforcement where appropriate.

Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-833-900-1010

What are the signs that someone might be a victim, or at risk of becoming a victim of sex trafficking?

Possible signs that someone is being groomed for sex trafficking include changes such as:

  • Not being allowed to speak for themselves;
  • Not having control of their own money or cellphone;
  • Suddenly having a new or second cell phone with a secret number;
  • Being controlled by others and escorted at all times;
  • Not being allowed to contact family or friends;
  • Withdrawing from family and friends;
  • Providing rehearsed answers to casual questions;
  • Being secretive about their activities;
  • Showing signs of abuse, such as bruising, cigarette burns, fractures, etc.
  • Having a new boyfriend, girlfriend, or friend who they won't introduce to friends/family; and
  • Having new items (clothing, jewelry etc.) outside their financial means.

Not all indicators listed are present in every human trafficking situation.

Human Trafficking: It's Not What It Seems

How does trafficking impact a victim?

Every stage of the trafficking process can involve physical, sexual, and psychological abuse and violence, deprivation and torture, the forced use of substances, manipulation, economic exploitation, and abusive working and living conditions. (Source: United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking, 2008)

Victims of human trafficking can experience devastating psychological effects during and after their trafficking experience. Many survivors may end up experiencing post-traumatic stress, difficulty in relationships, depression, memory loss, anxiety, fear, guilt, shame, and other severe forms of mental trauma.

How common is human trafficking?

Since 2009, there have been more than 2,500 police-reported incidents in Canada.

Human trafficking often involves victims and witnesses in vulnerable situations who are fearful or distrustful of authorities or who are facing threats from the traffickers. This means that the true scope of human trafficking in Canada is underestimated.

What makes someone vulnerable to trafficking?

People you know might be vulnerable to sex trafficking if they:

  • Have an unstable living situation
  • Lack a strong supportive network
  • Are runaways or otherwise homeless
  • Struggle with self-esteem
  • Have a history of sexual abuse
  • Suffer from substance dependency or addiction

People who are most at risk of labour trafficking include:

  • Migrant workers
  • Newcomers to Canada
  • People with uncertain immigration status
  • People who are homeless
  • People who do not speak English or French

Supports in the community

The following is a list of valuable support services and resources in Halton Region for victims of violence and/or sexual assault:

Elizabeth Fry Society Halton-Peel 905-878-2075

Halton Regional Police Service Victim Services Unit 905-825-4777

Nina's Place Sexual Assault and Domestic Assault Care Centre 905-336-4116 or 905-681-4880

Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Services (SAVIS) 905-875-1555 (24-hour crisis line)

Radius Child & Youth Services 905-825-3242 (Oakville) or 1-855-744-9001

Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 (24-hour crisis line)

THRIVE Counselling 905-845-3811 or 905-637-5256

The Halton Regional Police Service is a member of the Halton Collaborative Against Human Trafficking along with several other stakeholders and agencies. This Collaborative is dedicated towards providing services and support to those who have experienced Human Trafficking in Halton and surrounding regions. Local organizations such as Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Services (SAVIS) of Halton are able to provide first response care and support to victims of human trafficking.​