Exploitation & Human Trafficking 

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What is human trafficking?

What can human trafficking look like in Canada?

What protections are in place for victims reporting trafficking?

What are the related offences?

Where can I get help or more information?




Human trafficking is controlling or influencing a person’s movements/freedom in order to exploit them.

Exploitation means getting a person to: 


perform sexual acts, or 

transport drugs 

by doing something that could cause them to fear for their own safety, or the safety of another person. 

Exploitation also includes using force, threats of force, or deception to remove a body organ or tissue. 


Human trafficking is a crime in Canada, even if the victim agreed or consented. 

Human trafficking does not require moving the victim to a new location, or across provincial or national borders. Trafficking can happen within Edmonton, within Alberta, within Canada, or internationally.The main feature of human trafficking is the exploitation and control of persons, which is why it is often described as a modern form of slavery. 


Who are potential traffickers?  

Traffickers can work alone, in groups, or as part of large international organized crime networks

Traffickers may claim to be an employer, or employment, modeling, talent, or housing agency in order to recruit victims. 

Alternatively, traffickers may groom victims by pretending to be a caring friend, partner, boyfriend, or girlfriend.   

Who are potential victims?

Victims of human trafficking can be boys, girls, men, or women. 

Victims can come from rural or urban settings and vary in age. 

Exploitation may be in:

   o   the sex trade, 

   o the oil fields, 

   o housework, 

   o drug trafficking, 

   o manual labour,

   o restaurants, or other areas.


Trafficked persons may:

find themselves in a country or city they did not expect, are unfamiliar with, and cannot escape,

have been promised a fair job or opportunity, only to be forced to work in conditions they did not expect,

be told they have debt to the trafficker for transportation or living expenses, and must continue to work until their debt is paid,

be closely monitored,

fear authorities,

be unable to speak the local language(s),

not know where to find help,

be vulnerable due to poverty, unemployment, inequality, or language barriers.   


1. Emergency Services 

2. Temporary Residence Permits 

3. Witness Protection

4. Community Shelters & Services

5. Victim Services 

1. Emergency Services

If you, or someone you know of, are in need of immediate assistance, dial 911 to be connected to police, fire, or ambulance services. 

If you want to anonymously report a potential case of trafficking, call the Crime Stoppers National Tip-line at 1-800-222-8477. 

2. Temporary Residence Permits 

Citizenship and Immigration Canada provides legal immigration status to victims of trafficking by granting them a temporary residence permit (TRP). 

A TRP lasts for 180 days and, depending on the victim’s situation, can be renewed at the end of the 180 days.  TRPs also include eligibility for health-care benefits, trauma counseling, and applications for free work permits to be able to legally work in Canada. 

A victim does not have to testify in court against their trafficker to obtain a TRP or any other services. 

3. Witness Protection

The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) can move, accommodate, change the legal identity, and financially support persons helping the police in order to keep them safe from a trafficker or others. British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec manage their own witness protection programs.


4. Community Shelters & Services

Community shelters and services can help victims by offering a place to sleep, meals, clothing, emotional support, and referrals to services that best fit their needs. 

In Edmonton, persons can dial 211 to speak to an operator trained in the resources the community has to offer in order to find a safe place or other help. 

Women who are with or without children and fleeing abuse can call secure shelters for a safe place to stay: 

o Lurana Shelter 24-hour crisis line: 780-424-5875

o WIN House 24-hour crisis line: 780-479-0058

o A Safe Place Shelter 24-hour crisis line:  780-464-7233

5. Victim Services 

Victim Service Units provide support and information to victims, and advocate for their rights and entitlements in the justice system and general community. They have access to a 24-hour interpretation service so they can communicate with victims in their own language. 

Victims are connected to Victim Services by the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The EPS Victim Services Unit can be contacted directly at (780) 421-2217. 


The following actions are criminal offences that involve, or are related to, human trafficking: 


1. Trafficking in persons (human trafficking)

Recruiting, transporting, transferring, receiving, holding, concealing, or harbouring a person, or controlling, directing, or influencing a person’s movements for the purposes of exploiting them.

Minimum: none

Maximum: life


2. Trafficking of a person under the age of 18 years 

Trafficking in persons when the victim is a child

Minimum: 5 years

Maximum: life

3. Material benefit 

Receiving financial or other material benefit, knowing that it results from human trafficking 

Minimum: none

Maximum: 10 years

4. Withholding or destroying documents  

Hiding, removing, withholding, or destroying travel, identity, or immigration documents for the purposes of human trafficking 

Minimum: none

Maximum: 5 years

5. International trafficking in person

Helping to move one or more persons into Canada by abduction, fraud, deception, use of force, threat of force, or coercion 

Minimum: none

Maximum: life 

6. Kidnapping  

Moving another person to a new location and confining or imprisoning them, transporting them out of Canada against their will, or holding them for ransom

Minimum: 4 years

Maximum: life

7. Forcible confinement 

Confining, or imprisoning another person without legal authority to do so 

Minimum: none

Maximum: 10 years

8. Uttering threats

Communicating a threat of injury, death, damaged property, or injured pets to another person 

Minimum: none

Maximum: 5 years

9. Extortion 

Getting (or trying to get) another person to do something by threats, tricks, or violence in order to obtain money, property, or services

Minimum: 4 years

Maximum: life 

10. Assault

Intentionally applying force to another person without their consent, or

Threatening to do so

Minimum: none

Maximum: 14 years

11. Sexual Assault 

Intentional contact of a sexual nature with another person without their consent 

Minimum: none

Maximum: life

12. Commission of an offence for a criminal organization 

Committing a serious crime for the benefit, at the direction of, or in association with, a criminal organization 

Minimum: none

Maximum: 14 years

*Maximums generally reflect situations when aggravating factors exist (for example the offence was committed with a weapon, or caused serious bodily harm to the victim). 

*Minimums generally reflect situations when few or no aggravating factors exist.




 Reporting Trafficking:


 Edmonton Police Service

            Emergency: 911

            Non-emergency: (780) 423-4567 (or #377 from a cell phone in the Edmonton area)


 Crime Stoppers National Tip-line (anonymous): 1-800-222-8477


 Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-387-5437


 Assistance & Information:


 Chrysalis National Human Trafficking Toll-Free Line: 1-866-528-7109

Free, confidential counseling service for women, men, & youth who have been trafficked or are sex workers

Service available in English, French, Punjabi, Hindi, Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Malay, Portuguese, & Afrikaans 


 Victim’s Services: (780) 421-2760

Information, support, referrals 

Service available in multiple languages 


 ACT Alberta (Action Coalition on Human Trafficking): (780) 474-1104

Assistance for victims of human trafficking, training & education for professionals working with trafficked persons

 Changing Together: A Centre for Immigrant Women (780) 421-0175

Help for immigrant women in abusive situations (example: information about deportation, Canadian law, safety planning) 


 Citizenship & Immigration Canada: 1-888-242-2100

Information on temporary residence permits, work permits, refugee status, and immigration. 


 Counselling & Support


 Chrysalis National Human Trafficking Toll-Free Line 1-866-528-7109

Free, confidential counseling service for women, men & youth who have been trafficked or are sex workers


 Support Network 24-Hour Distress Line (780) 482-4357

Someone to listen & talk to when life hurts, if you are thinking of suicide please call 

Edmonton Sexual Assault Centre 24-Hour Crisis Line (780) 423-4121

Confidential support for anyone experiencing sexual violence or supporting someone affected by sexual violence 


 Family Violence 24-Hour Info Line (780) 310-1818

Information and support in over 170 languages


 CEASE (Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation)  (780) 471-6143

Counselling, trauma recovery, and emergency poverty relief for individuals working to heal and rebuild their lives after experiencing exploitation. 


 City of Edmonton Assessment & Short-Term Counselling Services (780) 496-4777

Free short term individual counselling, free family violence support groups facilitated by a social worker, free cell phones for victims of family violence  

YWCA Counselling Centre: (780) 423-9922 ext. 222

Counselling offered on a sliding scale (may be free depending on your income) for healing from violence, exploitation, addictions, and a variety of other concerns 

Walk-in Counselling Society of Edmonton: (780) 757-0900 

Drop-in counselling session offered on a sliding scale (may be free depending on your income), designed to be a one-time experience




 Edmonton Women's Shelter (WIN House)  (24 Hour Crisis Line):  (780) 479-0058

Shelter and support for women with or without children who are fleeing domestic violence 

Lurana Shelter (Crisis Line): (780) 424-5875

High security shelter and support for women with or without children who are fleeing domestic abuse

 SAGE Seniors Safe House: (780) 702-1520

Emergency housing for men and women over 60 years of age who are leaving abusive situations


 A Safe Place (Sherwood Park)  (24 Hour Crisis Line): (780) 464-7233

A shelter and support for abused women and their children, including free transportation (from Edmonton, Sherwood Park, & Fort Saskatchewan) for admission to the shelter 


 Women’s Emergency Accommodation Centre (WEAC): (780) 423-5302

 9611-101A Ave, Edmonton AB

An emergency place to stay for homeless women, new women admitted at 9pm every night 


 Hope Mission Emergency Shelter: (780) 422-2018

 9908-106 Ave, Edmonton AB

A safe place to sleep for those living on the streets. Separate shelter areas available for men, women, couples, and youth. Open at 8pm.  


 Second Stage Shelters:


 La Salle Residence:  (780) 482-2190

A second stage shelter (transitional housing for up to a year) & support for women and 

their children who have left abuse and are leaving a front-line crisis agency 

Wings of Providence: (780) 426-4985

Second stage housing (longer term) & accompanying support for women & their children who have experienced family violence 


 Legal Resources:


 Legal Aid Society: (780) 427-7575

Free legal information

Lawyers who may represent you for a highly reduced rate if you make less than a certain amount

 Emergency Protection Order Program: (780) 422-9222

Lawyers (free of charge, & with no eligibility requirements) to help obtain protection orders that can prevent a family member from contacting you


 Lawyer Referral Service: 1-800-661-1095

Referrals to up to 3 lawyers that may be able to help you (they will be able to speak to you for 30min for free and then will likely want to be hired and paid)

 Edmonton Community Legal Centre: (780) 702-1725

Free legal information, free presentations on topics such as immigration, temporary foreign worker applications, and family law

 Student Legal Services of Edmonton (780) 492-2226

Law students able to provide free legal information