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Kristen French Child Advocacy Centre Niagara

Combating Human
Trafficking in Canada

Canada, has been identified as a source, transit & destination country for international trafficking. The majority of human trafficking cases found in Canada are domestic and involve women & young girls in the sex trade.

To address the issue of human trafficking, Canada is a signatory of the Palermo Protocol. Under this protocol Canada has an obligation to follow the 4 pillars of response (prevention, protection of victims, prosecution of offenders & partnership), and we have created new legislation and developed a national task force surrounding Human Trafficking.

Canada’s official strategy was formalized on June 6, 2012 when the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking was officially launched.


Canada’s National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking

Structured along the 4 pillars of response, the following steps are being taken to help Combat Human Trafficking in Canada:


  • Development of information and awareness campaigns;
  • Supporting practical prevention strategies;
  • Reducing vulnerabilities; and
  • Enhancing awareness of government anti-trafficking efforts


  • Develop resources with civil society and all provinces and territories;
  • Train front-line service providers;
  • Promote consistent responses towards combating Human Trafficking across Canada;
  • Funding support and assistance for trafficked persons; and
  • Protect vulnerable populations from entering Human Trafficking


  • Specific training to law enforcement and criminal justice officials;
  • Enhancing intelligence coordination and collaboration;
  • Supporting investigations and prosecutions; and
  • Improve detection and labour exploitation through enhanced protocols and information technology


  • Enhance engagement and collaboration;
  • Support knowledge exchange; and
  • Inform policy response (nationally and internationally)

Click here for a PDF version of the information above.

Canada’s Human Trafficking Legislation

In 2002, the introduction of new legislation against human trafficking was added into the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and into the Criminal Code of Canada in 2005.

Criminal Code of Canada (CCC)

The Criminal Code of Canada (CCC) established the following to combat Human Trafficking:

— Sections 279.01 “Trafficking in Persons” = a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment, or life in prison if: kidnapping, aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault or exploitation causing a victim’s death is involved.

— Sections 279.011 “Trafficking of a person under eighteen years of age” = In 2010, the minimum penalty is 5 years imprisonment for victims under the age of 18; or a minimum of 6 years if: Kidnapping, aggravated assault, aggravated sexual assault or exploitation causing a victim’s death is involved.

— Section 279.04 defines exploitation further = “causing a person to provide, or offer to provide, labour or a service by engaging in conduct that, in all the circumstances, could reasonably be expected to cause the other person to believe that their safety of someone they know would be threatened if they did not provide or offer to provide that labour or service”

— Section 279.02 “material benefits” = Receiving material or financial benefit that results from human trafficking can result in a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

— Section 279.03 “withholding of documents” = Concealing, removing, withholding or destroying a person’s identity documents for the purpose of committing or facilitating human trafficking is punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment.

To convict an individual for human trafficking under the CCC all 3 elements need to be present: control, exploitation and fear for the safety of those involved.

Immigration & Refugee Protection Act (IRPA)

The Immigration & Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) established the following to combat human trafficking, but only in regards to international trafficking cases:

— Section 118 = “a person who knowingly organizes the entry into Canada of one or more persons by means of abduction, fraud, deception or use or threat of force or coercion is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to a fine of up to 1 million dollars, life imprisonment or both”

The IRPA distinguishes between Human Trafficking and Smuggling:

— Section 117 = Smuggling is defined as “organizing, inducing, aiding or abetting the coming into Canada of one or more persons in contravention to the Act”

The law defines organizing in the context of human trafficking as “the recruitment, transportation, receipt and harbouring of persons.”



Click here for a PDF version of the information above.

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