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What is sex trafficking?

Often described as a modern form of slavery, sex trafficking is one of the fastest-growing crimes in Canada. It can be best defined as the control, coercion and use of threats or violence to force a person to sell sex against their will for someone else's financial gain.

Trafficking is a lucrative, under-reported and misunderstood crime. It is constantly evolving in terms of who the victims are, who the traffickers are and where it happens. And while awareness of sex trafficking in Canada is growing, there is still a lot of work to do.

Dispelling the myths around sex trafficking is the first step.

Common myths

MYTH: Sex trafficking doesn't happen in my community or country

MYTH: Traffickers are men

MYTH: Victims are always physically detained

MYTH: The women involved make a lot of money

MYTH: Sex trafficking is the same as sex work

  1. Canadian Women’s Foundation. (2014). “No More”: Ending Sex Trafficking in Canada, Report of the National Task Force on Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls in Canada. Retrieved from https://www.canadianwomen.org/our-work/sector-resources/
  2. Canadian Women's Foundation. (2014). Fact Sheet: Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls in Canada. Retrieved from https://www.canadianwomen.org/our-work/sector-resources/
  3. Canadian Women’s Foundation. (2014). “No More”: Ending Sex Trafficking in Canada, Report of the National Task Force on Sex Trafficking of Women and Girls in Canada. Retrieved from https://www.canadianwomen.org/our-work/sector-resources/
  4. Covenant House Toronto, & Ipsos Public Affairs. (2018). A National Sex Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Study
  5. CISC. (2008). Strategic Intelligence Brief: Organized Crime and Domestic Trafficking in Persons in Canada (p. 5, Rep.).