I'm not for sale - Pamphlet

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Are they victims?

  • Are they doing the work and being paid what was promised?
  • Are they being forced or pressured to work?
  • Do they have access to their papers/travel documents/identification?
  • Are they or a person known to them being threatened?
  • Are they free to go where they please?

Human trafficking is a global and multi-faceted phenomenon. This modern form of slavery is characterized by the exploitation of women, men and children who are deprived of liberty. The United Nations has stated that human trafficking is tied with illegal arms sales as the second largest criminal activity in the world.

We're talking human trafficking – Not human smuggling

While the two terms are often used interchangeably, it is important to distinguish between human trafficking and human smuggling. The major difference involves matters of exploitation.

What's the difference?

Human smuggling is a form of illegal migration involving the organized transport of persons across an international border, usually in exchange for a sum of money, and sometimes involving dangerous conditions. The relationship between the smuggler and the person being smuggled is a voluntary business transaction, which usually ends when the client reaches the intended destination. The financial component of a human smuggling transaction may be a one-time fee paid to the smuggler before arrival or instalment payments after arrival.

Human trafficking involves the exploitation of people through force, coercion, threat, fraud or deception and may include acts generally defined as human rights abuses. Victims may be forced into labour, prostitution or some other form of servitude. The relationship between trafficker and victim does not end upon arrival at destination, as the victim may be subjected to debt bondage (forced labour to pay off a debt). Unlike human smuggling, human trafficking occurs both across international borders and within national boundaries.

International human trafficking

International Human Trafficking involves someone who, in the process of being trafficked, crosses an international border. Although it may include an element of human smuggling, internationally trafficked persons do not necessarily enter a country clandestinely or illegally. They may enter with a valid passport, visa or working papers.

Domestic human trafficking

While human trafficking is usually associated with migrant victims being trafficked into Canada, it may also be a purely domestic phenomenon occurring wholly within Canada. Vulnerable, economically challenged and socially dislocated sectors of the Canadian population represent a potential pool of trafficking victims. This includes teenage runaways, as well as those who may be lured to urban centres or who migrate there voluntarily.

The promises made to the victims

  • Money
  • Work
  • Education
  • Freedom
  • The life of your dreams
  • Financial help for the family
  • A better life
  • A promising future

How to recognize victims

The victims may:

  • Speak neither English nor French, or may not speak on their own behalf;
  • Originate from foreign countries;
  • Be unaware of local surroundings even though they have been in the area for an extended period of time;
  • Show evidence of control, intimidation or abnormal psychological fear;
  • Not be able to move or leave job;
  • Have bruises or show other signs of abuse;
  • Show signs of malnourishment;
  • Be frequently accompanied by their trafficker;
  • Be frequently moved by their trafficker.

What is the victim's mindset?

The victims may:

  • Not self-identify as victims of human trafficking. Victims may not appear to need social services because they have a place to live, food to eat, medical care and what they think is a paying job;
  • Be taught to distrust outsiders, especially law enforcement. They have a sense of fear and distrust toward the government and police (i.e. fear of deportation in international cases);
  • Feel better in their current situation than where they came from, even if they are being exploited;
  • Be completely unaware of their rights or may have been intentionally misinformed about their rights in Canada;
  • Fear for their families or someone known to them as some traffickers may threaten to harm them if they report their situations to, or cooperate with, law enforcement.

If you or someone you know is being exploited, contact your local police. If you wish to report a crime anonymously, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

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