Since 2007, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police's (RCMP) Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre (HTNCC) has been gathering information and intelligence pertaining to human trafficking specific cases and human trafficking related cases from the RCMP and other law enforcement agencies.Note 1 The majority of these cases involve victims who have been trafficked domestically for the purpose of sexual exploitation.Note 2
Project SAFEKEEPING, an assessment of domestic human trafficking for sexual exploitation in Canada, was initiated by the HTNCC as a result of this information. Project SAFEKEEPING serves as a baseline report that provides insight into the nature and extent of domestic human trafficking for sexual exploitation in Canada. The findings of this report identify the characteristics of traffickers and victims, the vulnerabilities of victims, and the modi operandi of traffickers. Provincial overviews of domestic human trafficking for sexual exploitation, as well as current gaps and challenges pertaining to investigating this crime, are also included in this report. Overall, the findings of Project SAFEKEEPING provide support to law enforcement, service providers, government organizations, and non-governmental organizations in their fight against this crime.
- Traffickers force victims to provide sexual services to customers primarily in hotels/ private residences and in adult entertainment establishments.
- Traffickers who force their victims to provide sexual services in hotels/private residences acquire clients primarily through online advertising. External agencies (escort and dancer placement agencies) are also used by traffickers to acquire clients, but not to the extent of online advertising.
- Traffickers usually take all of their victims' profits: victims typically earn between $500 and $1,000 per day.
- The majority of traffickers are male, Canadian citizens, between the ages of 19 and 32 years, and are of various ethnicities or races.
- Adult females and individuals under the age of 18 years (especially those who are female) are increasingly becoming involved as human traffickers for sexual exploitation.
- Female traffickers usually work with at least one male and this partnership is sometimes relationship-based.
- Traffickers who are under the age of 18 years commonly work in partnership with adults.
- In approximately 50 percent of specific cases of domestic human trafficking for sexual exploitation, traffickers are associated with street gangs. However, intelligence does not indicate that human trafficking is an organized street gang activity.
- The proportion of traffickers who work alone and those who work with other individuals is almost equal. Traffickers work with friends, trusted associates, family members, boyfriends/girlfriends, or other females involved in prostitution.
- Victims are female, Canadian citizens, between the ages of 14 and 22 years, and are typically Caucasian.
- Individuals are most susceptible to traffickers when they need financial support and/ or gain, or they desire love and affection.
- Individuals who are under the age of 18 years or engaged in dancing in adult entertainment establishments and/or prostitution, are more vulnerable to recruitment by traffickers as well as their control tactics. However, anyone can become a victim of human trafficking.
- Approximately 50 percent of victims do not have previous experience dancing in adult entertainment establishments and/or prostituting.
- In recent years, individuals with relatively stable backgrounds are increasingly becoming victims of human trafficking.
- Victims who are trafficked by individuals under the age of 18 years are usually under 18 years old themselves.
- Victims usually meet traffickers directly, or through mutual friends or acquaintances. A small portion of victims meet traffickers over the Internet through social networking websites such as Facebook.
- Traffickers mostly recruit victims from hotels/residences (commonly parties), bars/ clubs (including adult entertainment establishments), and the streets.
- Traffickers commonly initially gain and then maintain control over their victims by establishing trust through false friendship and romance, psychological control, threats, intimidation and violence.
- Traffickers often move their victims within and across provinces. Major hubs include the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta, with victims commonly trafficked between the neighbouring provinces.
Note 1Human trafficking specific cases and human trafficking related cases are defined on pages four and five, respectively.
Note 2Domestic human trafficking for sexual exploitation is defined on page five.
Note 3For the purpose of this report, traffickers are individuals that were involved in the trafficking process. They may, or may not, have been charged with human trafficking specific and/or related offences.