Canadian Council fr Refugees


trafficking starter toolkit

Starter Toolkit Contents

§                             Introduction

§                             Raising awareness about trafficking

§                             Key Issues

§                             Practical information

§                             What you can do

§                                                 Create a new group to raise awareness

§                                                 Start the conversation in your organization and/or sector

§                                                 Organizations working on trafficking: Work with volunteers to raise awareness

§                                                 Create a new group to raise awareness

§                             Practical information

Trafficking home

Raising Awareness about Trafficking in Persons

Trafficking in persons happens in Canada

Trafficking in persons is a form of forced labour that responds to demands in Canada and involves the use of deception, force, fraud and/or coercion to exploit people in different ways. It happens in small towns and communities as well as big cities. Canada is a source, transit and destination country for trafficking in persons.

Learn about trafficking

To start raising awareness about trafficking in persons in your own community and sector, here is some background information:

> What is trafficking?

> Trafficking vs. smuggling

> International anti-trafficking efforts

Canadian anti-trafficking efforts

Suggested background documents and websites

 What is trafficking in persons?


Forms of trafficking

Trafficking can take many forms. It often involves the exploitation of people through forced labour.

Trafficking can include:

Trafficking can also be present in cases of forced marriages where the act, means and purpose of exploitation are evident.

Trafficking in Persons vs. Migrant Smuggling


Did you know?

All countries are places of origin, transit or destination for trafficking in persons.


Trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling are different:

Key elements of trafficking

Trafficking in persons can be identified by the combination of 3 factors:

+ ACT: Recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons.

+ MEANS: Threat/coercion, abduction, fraud/deception, abuse of power/of a position of vulnerability.

+ PURPOSE: Exploitation.

International Anti-Trafficking Efforts

Trafficking Protocol

The United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children (2000), also known as the Trafficking Protocol, provided the first internationally agreed upon definition of trafficking in persons. It specifically offers States a legal framework for their anti-trafficking initiatives, recognizing the need for a combined approach that integrates:

This Protocol is one of three protocols supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. As such, it addresses trafficking within the context of organized crime.

While the Trafficking Protocol provides important guidelines for countries and has been essential in laying the groundwork for anti-trafficking strategies internationally, its limitations lie in that:

Why is trafficking a human rights issue?

At different stages of the trafficking experience, the human rights of trafficked persons are severely violated.

Human rights violations are a cause and consequence of trafficking.

During exploitation

After escaping situation

Many governments give priority to prosecution and to the detention and deportation of trafficked persons for reasons related to their status.

In many cases, trafficked persons are used primarily as a tool to prosecute the crime.


Did you know?

Protecting trafficked persons’ rights also serves anti-trafficking objectives:

When trafficked persons are given viable alternatives they have an incentive to report;

When trafficked persons are protected, traffickers, who depend on victims that can be exploited, are undermined.

Canadian Anti-Trafficking Efforts

Canada is a signatory and State Party to the Trafficking Protocol and has been guided by the Protocol’s principles in responding to trafficking.

Canada’s anti-trafficking efforts have focused primarily on law enforcement responses. Less priority has been given to protecting the rights of persons who are victims of the crime of trafficking.

Canada has developed a National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, which outlines the government’s priorities and approach in addressing trafficking.

Canada’s National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking

The National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking (NAP) was launched by the federal government in June 2012. The NAP is the first attempt to establish a national response to trafficking in persons. It promotes anti-trafficking activities that are divided into 4 broad areas (also known as the 4 ‘Ps’) which are in line with the Trafficking Protocol:

Even though the NAP includes a section on protection, its anti-trafficking efforts largely favour a law enforcement approach. This has proved problematic as the rights and needs of trafficked persons have been given a lower priority and, as a result, trafficked persons continue to fall between the cracks of the system.

Suggested Background Documents and Websites

Suggested background documents and websites on trafficking in Canada are available here.