What Is Human Trafficking?

A bit heavier of a topic today for our blog. But January is Human Trafficking awareness month, and as you might know Onsight Care gives a part of its proceeds to organizations that help fight this injustice. We thought it’d be a good idea to share some basic knowledge and clear up false beliefs on this topic that many people don’t know about.

Human trafficking defined as the exploitation of human beings for gain. Trafficking exploitation can exist in many forms. The most common forms of trafficking are labor trafficking and sex trafficking. Other forms of trafficking can include child marriage, child begging, child soldiers, domestic servitude, and organ harvesting.

Trafficking is done through force, coercion, abduction, deception and/or abuse of trust, power or position of vulnerability. In most movies or what we tend to think happens is abduction. That a van drives by and picks up the innocent victim off the street in broad daylight and takes them to a hidden location to then exploit them. And yes, this can happen, but in most cases it happens through the abuse of trust and vulnerability. The promise of jobs, love and a better life usually lead the victim to believe they are being brought to a better place, which instead they are then exploited for money.

Once trafficked, the victims are then usually trapped by debt bondage, little pay, lies and threats. They are told they have to work off their debts or else bad things will happen to them or their family. Traffickers are experts at choosing vulnerable people who will trust or be afraid of them. Through this trust or fear the victim will continue their “work” without needing to be locked up. The high school girl walking down the street could be a victim and still attends school, it’s not as cut and paste as you might think.

Trafficking is usually thought to be international, but it happens right here in Canada. The victims can be international, but a lot of times they are already Canadian citizens. In Canada, Aboriginal women and youth are vulnerable to being trafficked for sexual exploitation due to circumstances such as, the effects colonization, residential school abuse, poverty, gender inequity, and discrimination. Not all victims are aboriginal, female, or children, but unfortunately they have a higher vulnerability to be trafficked.

Some statistics:

  • An estimated 3 millionpeople are in modern slavery.
  • 1 in 4 victims of modern slavery are children.
  • According to police-reported data in Canada, there were a total of 865 victims of human trafficking between 2009 and 2016. The vast majority (95%) of these victims were women. 
  • In Canada, most (72%) victims of human trafficking were under 25 years of age.
  • In Canada, females under the age of 25 years represented 70% of all victims of police-reported human trafficking (26% were less than 18 years old, and 44% were between 18 and 24 years).

Human trafficking is hidden most the time, but these are some of the found statistics for the world and Canada. It’s kind of mind boggling to me that such high numbers exist and most the time we can’t even see it happening. I encourage you to do your own research to learn more about this topic, as this blog only scratches the surface. You can read more about the organizations we support in our Mission statement.


If you happen to suspect human trafficking, the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline is 1-833-900-1010, or email at hotline@ccteht.ca .


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