What is Human Trafficking?
Human Trafficking, involves the recruitment, transportation, harbouring and/or exercising control, direction or influence over the movements of a person in order to exploit that person, typically through sexual exploitation or forced labour. Also known as “modern-day slavery”.
Exploitation is defined as causing a person to provide or offer to provide a labour or service by engaging in conduct that could reasonably be expected to cause the other person to believe that their safety or the safety of a person they know would be threatened if they did not provide the labour of service.
In Canada, the law states that no one can “consent” to any of the activities that are part of the definition of human trafficking.
What are the types of Exploitation?
Within Canada, Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE) is the most documented form of human trafficking involving mainly women and girls, but also men and young boys.
Traffickers can range from opportunistic pimps posing as boyfriends to large organized crime operations. The process in which a trafficker recruits an individual into Human Trafficking is known as grooming.
Forced Labour, is defined as “work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not offered himself/herself voluntarily.”
In Ontario, there have been very few cases where traffickers have been charged and prosecuted for labour trafficking. These cases are generally international, and usually involve temporary migrant workers who are recruited through false promises and fake contacts.
Domestic Servitude, is also known as an invisible form of exploitation due to the hidden nature of the work & is a subset of labour trafficking.
Many domestic servitude cases that have been seen in Ontario, usually involve international victims entering Canada through live-in caregiver programs.
FORCED ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES
Forcing an individual to perform illegal activities is also considered a subset of labour trafficking.
The most notable difference is the control that traffickers have over their victims due to the seriousness of their illegal activities. Victims are less reluctant to come forward when they have knowingly conducted illegal activities, preventing them from trying to escape or contact authorities.
What is Luring?
Traffickers lure their victims by making themselves desirable, as they offer a “way-out” of unfavourable situations. Some of these factors include: economic, political and social instability, homelessness, no employment opportunities, lack of access to resources, etc.
Youth are among one of the most vulnerable populations to becoming victims of human trafficking. This is especially the case for youth who come from harsh backgrounds that involve broken families, a past/present experience of abuse, growing up in group homes or a history of running away from home. Traffickers look for insecure young people with low self-esteem and often approach youth in public places such as: malls, bus stops/stations, sports events, schools, shelters and group homes. Social media (i.e. Instagram & Snapchat) are also used extensively to target young people and lure them into trafficking situations.