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Who are the victims?

The majority of sex trafficking victims in our country are young Canadian girls who are being recruited as young as 13 years old.1 Young boys are being trafficked too.

New immigrants, LGBTQ2S+ youth and Indigenous young women are over-represented among sex trafficking victims.2 But sex trafficking can happen to anyone regardless of their age, gender, income, orientation, culture or neighbourhood.3

Over the past two years, we have met more and more young women who come from "normalized" families, intact families, where the girls are still engaged in their lives, their families and they are in school. 4

Common risk factors

At Covenant House, the majority of young people who seek our services are women. From our experience, we know there is no such thing as a "typical" victim. However, there are certain factors in the lives of young people that can put them at greater risk, including:

  • Mental health issues
  • Low self-esteem and insecurity
  • Body image issues
  • Learning disabilities
  • Bullying
  • Social isolation
  • Substance use issues
  • Child abuse experience
  • Poverty

The common denominator is often some type of vulnerability or unmet need. Learn more about what makes someone vulnerable to being trafficked.

You have to look at who are these traffickers targeting in the first place. It is young girls and young boys who are lacking something in their life. 5

  1. Gabriele, F., et al. (2014). The Incidence of Human Trafficking in Ontario, Ontario Coalition Research Initiative
  2. Ibid
  3. Barrett, N.A. (2010). An exploration of promising practices in response to human trafficking in Canada. Retrieved from https://icclr.law.ubc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/An-Exploration-of-PromisingPractices-in-Response-to-Human-Trafficking-in-Canada.pdf
  4. Covenant House Toronto, & Ipsos Public Affairs. (2018). A National Sex Trafficking Awareness and Prevention Study
  5. Ibid