US Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Jan 11, 2024 is the kick off to a month-long
In Canada the Human Trafficking Awareness Day is Feb 22, 2024.
Human trafficking is happening at shocking levels and it’s happening all around us without us
even us even knowing it. It’s not just in big cities but even in small town Ontario.
Do you know what to look for? Awareness is the key.
Human trafficking involves recruiting, transporting, transferring or harbouring a person, or
exercising power, control or influence for the purpose of exploiting them. The most detected type
of trafficking is sexual exploitation and forced labour.
What are some of the warning signs or red flags to watch for or might indicate that sex
trafficking maybe occurring?
1/ The person seems overly fearful, tense, paranoid and/or submissive. They avoid eye contact
and social interactions. They are not allowed to be in public alone.
2/ Their identification and documents are held by another and defers to that person before giving
3/ Clothing is inappropriate. Example: very little clothing when the weather is cold. They seem
to be lacking in personal possessions.
4/ Look for abuse, injuries and/or branding such as tattoos around the face, neck, chest or lower
back areas that have a sex, money or pimp like theme.
5/ Seems to speak as though it’s a script or has been rehearsed.
6/ Working excessively long hours and living at the place of employment.
7/ Poor physical and/or dental health. Untreated sexually transmitted diseases. Appearing
8/ Security measures that appear to keep people inside an establishment, such as bars on
windows, blacked out windows, barbed wire inside of a fence.
9/ Checking into hotels/motels with older males.
10/ They are on the move, working and living within a group in various locations.
The most used tactic traffickers use is posing as a boyfriend and use romantic gestures to prey
upon a person’s vulnerabilities. They may offer a way to make some easy, quick cash. They then
use physical threats and violence to get what they want. Victims are often recruited by someone
they know. Here in Ontario, the 401 corridor between Windsor to the Quebec boarder is the most
common route that traffickers use to transport young victims. Many of these victims are young
girls between the ages of 12-19. So, watching for these red flags at the OnRoutes is so important.
Partnerships with safe truckers is also an important step. The healing work is complex and
extremely difficult. It starts by public awareness, speaking up and help in educating about this
How to Report and Resources:
Report any suspicious behaviours to police or call 911
Knowing the hand signal for help
Ways to help & engage/ Resources:
CCTEHT toll free hotline 1-833-900-1010
Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking www.canadiancentretoendhumantrafficking.ca
Donate to organizations like The Covenant House Toronto https://covenanthousetoronto.ca/
Or Voice Found Ottawa www.voicefound.ca
Or seek the help of a Psychotherapist that is experienced in complex trauma and sexual abuse.
The largest vulnerability is Ignorance to the issue. Together we can stop this heinous crime.
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