Human Trafficking

What is human trafficking?

The following definition of human trafficking is framed within the legislative and legal framework in Canada:

Human trafficking involves any person or group who recruits, transports, transfers, receives, holds, conceals, or harbours a person, or exercises control, direction, or influence over the movements of a person or people for the purposes of exploiting them, or facilitating their exploitation. Victims of human trafficking may be exploited for the purposes of sexual exploitation, forced labour, or organ removal. Trafficked victims can be of any age, gender or citizenship and usually cannot, or perceive they cannot, leave their circumstances. Human trafficking occurs domestically within Canada, as well as internationally to and from Canada.

For more information visit Public Safety Canada.

What is Human Trafficking?
The Department of Justice works with partners to prevent human trafficking, protect victims, and prosecute offenders.

National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking (2015)

Human Trafficking Library (Victims of Violence, Ontario)


The Criminal Code of Canada:

In 2005, Canada added three new offences to the Criminal Code to deal specifically with human trafficking, either international or domestic, involving either adults or minors (under 18 years of age).

These offences make it a crime to:

  1. Recruit, transport, transfer, receive, hold or hide a person, or exercise control, direction or influence over an adult or a minor's movements for the purpose of exploiting or facilitation the exploitation of that person.
  2. Benefit materially from human trafficking.
  3. Withhold or destroy a person's travel or identification documents, such as a passport or visa, for the purpose of trafficking, or helping to traffic, that person.


Report of National Forum and Workshop on Trafficking (November 28-29, 2012)

An Exploration of Promising Practices in Response to Human Trafficking in Canada
September 28th. 2010

This report was commissioned by the Government of Manitoba on behalf of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Forum of Senior Officials responsible for the Status of Women. The purpose of the report is to identify practices - either in Canada or elsewhere - that could inform Canadian efforts to prevent human trafficking and support those who are trafficked. Read the report here in English and French.


Support Services available for victims of human trafficking in Nova Scotia

Each trafficked person is an individual, and each will have different issues, concerns and service needs. All will need a sense of personal freedom and safety. However, one person may need only one kind of service such as health care or another employment option, while another may have a variety of needs such as legal status to remain in Canada, counseling, or safe housing.

Usually, a victim will require a combination of support services at differing times in his or her recovery. Practitioners and academics have likened the provision of direct services to victims of human trafficking as being similar to the provision of services to either refugees who have experienced torture, or victims of domestic violence (See: Oksana Yakushko.  Human Trafficking: A Review for Mental Health Professionals.  International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling 31 (2009), pp. 158-167).

For more information about possible support services in Nova Scotia, click here.


A Handbook for Criminal Justice Practitioners on Trafficking in Persons (2015) (PDF Version)

Fact Sheet #1: Trafficking in Persons Specific Offences

Fact Sheet #2: Trafficking in Persons and Human Smuggling

Fact Sheet #3: Trafficking in Persons - Victims

Fact Sheet #4: Testimonial Aids for Victims

Fact Sheet #5: Trafficking in Persons - Sentencing

Fact Sheet #6: Trafficking in Persons - Pre-trial Detention/Release


"Human Trafficking: Towards Preparedness and Response in Nova Scotia” letter to symposium participants
February 22nd, 2012

Informational Postcards in nine languages
May 9th, 2012

Victims of Trafficking in Persons: Perspectives from the Canadian Community Sector (2006) (PDF Version)