Report on the barriers to exiting sex trafficking

Getting Out: A National Framework for Escaping Human Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation in Canada

Covenant House Toronto, in collaboration with co-researcher Susan McIntyre, has completed one of the largest research studies on sex trafficking produced in Canada to-date.

This study provides a comprehensive review of the process victims experience when exiting/escaping situations of sex trafficking, highlighting their multiple needs and the barriers they face, in addition to the promising practices service providers can adopt to better support the unique needs of this population.

This research report is based on consultations with over 200 stakeholders, including 50 survivors, across Canada who shared their valuable experiences with us. We sought to answer five key questions:

  1. What is the process of exiting sexual exploitation?
  2. What are the major barriers to escaping sex trafficking?
  3. What basic, instrumental and psychological needs do survivors have when exiting sex trafficking?
  4. At what point in the journey are certain needs more pressing?
  5. How does this process vary by regions in Canada?

We hope this study will help governments, the social services sector, local communities and the general public understand how we must all work together to support sex trafficking victims, putting an end to the fear and stigma that continues to victimize them throughout their lives.