Human Trafficking Avoidance

What Is Human Trafficking?

Human Trafficking is the forced exploitation of another person typically for sexual purposes. Human traffickers seek out young, particularly high school aged, teens who they groom and exercise control over by a variety of means including deception, threats, manipulation and violence.

Human trafficking is highly profitable activity that often involves gang members.

What Every Teen And Parent Should Know About Human Trafficking

Why is Human Trafficking a concern to you?

Human traffickers are in every community and prey upon the young people who live there. The vast majority of human traffickers were raised in our communities and operate at the local level.

What can be done to prevent Human Trafficking?

While human trafficking itself is an exceptionally serious and persistent problem, you can protect yourself by learning about the tactics used by human traffickers and watching for the warning signs.

Who is vulnerable to being targeted by human traffickers?

Human traffickers typically target females between the ages of twelve and twenty-two, who are vulnerable due to low self-esteem, poverty, mental health issues, previous trauma, family instability and drug or alcohol issues, some of which are introduced by the human trafficker. Most human trafficking victims are indoctrinated into the trade by age fourteen, so early education, vigilance and/or monitoring are the key to its prevention.

Where do they look for victims?

Human traffickers favour recruiting their victims online or through social media and at parties, shopping malls, bus stops, youth centres and social events; in other words, where you’re likely to be. Human traffickers also prey upon people who can be found in group homes, adult entertainment establishments and may resort to help from other young women who appear to be like you.

What are the signs that someone you have come in contact with may be involved in Human Trafficking?

  • Young girls who appear submissive, afraid and/or non-talkative

  • Young girls who have no identification or it is held by a male or female companion

  • Young girls who identify their male companion as a boyfriend, yet know little about them

  • Lack of knowledge as to destination, accommodations and purpose for travel

  • Travel destinations that are remote or non-tourist oriented such as the oil sands

How do they exercise control over you?

Human traffickers use a variety of techniques and practices to ensnare their victims prior to isolating them. This includes:

  • Addiction Traffickers who gain control over the victim through the exposure to narcotics

  • Romance & Friendship Traffickers who, as the name implies, use romance and friendship at the beginning to “groom”, then gain power over the victim. The “pimp” and victim, in this type of relationship may present themselves as a couple and often live together

  • Intimidation Traffickers who use violence, typically in the form of frequent and escalating beatings, to obtain power and control

Once a trafficker has ensnared their victim, they will limit the contact that they have with family and friends by listening to their phone calls, reading text messages and removing them from social media.

What are the signs that someone you know or love may be involved in Human Trafficking?

  • Isolation from family and friends and becoming more secretive

  • Change in attitude (mood swings), dress style and friends

  • Underweight or malnourished appearance or binge eating

  • Possession of expensive clothing, multiple phones, jewellery and access to high end vehicles with no visible means of support

  • Large age gap between male “boyfriend” and female victim

  • Inappropriate conversations of a sexual nature and/or beauty treatments

  • Excessive activity on social media

  • Possession of fraudulent identification, hotel “keys”, prepaid charge cards, excessive sexual paraphernalia and debt lists

  • The appearance of a tattoo with their new “boyfriend’s” name

  • Unexplained cuts or bruises

Tips For Parents

Be sure to have regular conversations with your child about school, their friends, particularly new ones and monitor their social media and internet use.

Make sure that you know where your child is when they are away from home.

What To Do If You Suspect Human Trafficking?

Notify the Toronto Police Service Human Trafficking Enforcement Team at 416-808-7474.


To report a crime anonymously, call Crime Stoppers at: 1-800-222-8477(TIPS) or online at:

In An Emergency: Call 9-1-1.

To report a crime to the Toronto Police that is not an emergency call 416-808-2222.

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