What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is a criminal offence that involves the exploitation of a person through force, coercion, threat, fraud or deception, for the financial gain of the exploiter.

It's not just happening in foreign countries and sweat shops. In Greater Sudbury and much of Ontario, domestic sex trafficking is very common. Our Officers work around the clock to help victims escape these violent crimes and to bring offenders to justice.

It's important to note that sex work and Human Trafficking are distinctively different. Generally when a person engages in sex work, they make the choice to do so. Sex workers keep the money earned and can decide to exit if they choose.

Domestic Sex Trafficking, on the other hand, occurs when a person controls, manipulates and intimidates another person into providing sexual services where the money earned goes back to the trafficker.

How are victims recruited?

Victims are often recruited through social media apps (i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat), fake job offers (modelling, acting), word of mouth, bars and clubs, restaurants, parties, malls and many other public places. In many cases, the trafficker will compliment the victim (i.e. “you are the most beautiful girl I've ever seen”); buy them expensive gifts; take them to parties; give them a lot of loving attention and initiate a sort of romantic relationship with the victim.

Once the victim is lured, the trafficker will:

  • Begin isolating the victim from their family and friends
  • Start putting the victim down and calling them names (psychological and emotional abuse)
  • Make the victim feel they need to repay all the gifts/money they were given
  • Begin asking the victim to do things they are not comfortable doing (i.e. sexual acts)
  • Threaten the victim and/or their family and friends if the victim does not concede
  • Confiscate the victim's money, credit cards and identification
  • Force them to perform sexual acts on other people

Once the victim is trapped, the trafficker will begin arranging appointments for the victim to be sold for sex.

Signs that someone is being trafficked

  • They may seem disoriented, disheveled or withdrawn
  • They appear controlled (no free movement, others speak for them)
  • They look older than they really are (makeup) and are with older people
  • They may show signs of physical abuse or branding (i.e. tattoos)
  • They may claim to be visiting, but can't identify where they're staying
  • They are driven everywhere and have no fixed address or identification
  • They are travelling with minimal luggage (possibly one large shoulder bag)
  • They miss school or drop out completely, and rarely spend time with friends and family anymore

Our ultimate goal is to keep our community safe and help rebuild lives that have been torn down by these horrible crimes.

It's important for sexual traffickers to understand three things:

1. You will get caught.

2. Consequences for your actions will be severe.

3. Consequences for your actions will occur swiftly

How do I report Human Trafficking?

If you want to speak to someone about Human Trafficking/Sexual Exploitation but you do not want to report an incident to police at this time, you can speak confidentially with Sudbury and Area Victim Services (SAVS) at 705-522-6970.

In an Emergency call 911

For Non-Emergent situations:

Greater Sudbury Police Service 705-675-9171

Sudbury Crime Stoppers 705-222-8477

Know the signs. Make the call.

Learn more about Ontario's Strategy to End Human Trafficking.

Human Trafficking Hotline 1-833-900-1010

The Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline offers a confidential, multilingual service, operating 24/7/365 to connect victims and survivors of forced prostitution and forced labour with social services and/or law enforcement in communities across Canada.

You can also submit tips, concerns or questions about human trafficking through www.canadianhumantraffickinghotline.ca

Project Empower

From April 2018 to March 2019, the Greater Sudbury Police Service entered into 56 new human trafficking investigations, resulting in 53 human trafficking related charges laid. During the same time period, 28 Survivors were assisted and referred for relevant and appropriate support services. Given the prevalent risk of human trafficking in Greater Sudbury, the GSPS has identified a need for providing education and awareness to high school youth on human trafficking. To that end, in partnership with Sudbury & Area Victim Services (SAVS), a high school human trafficking initiative was implemented. From the end of September 2019 to date, the GSPS has engaged with over 850 high school students and delivered 16 presentations with SAVS in regards to human trafficking prevention.

In 2020, from January to June, 38 Human Trafficking and related occurrences have been investigated, some of which are ongoing.

In April 2020, GSPS launched Project Empower, which is a program designed to be a Survivor-centered initiative incorporating crime prevention, education and increased awareness of reporting processes towards sexual violence, harassment and human trafficking. It will feature a multi-agency collaborative approach to helping survivors and potential victims of sexual violence and human trafficking. Project Empower will feature the three priorities of expanding education, providing enhanced training and conducting coordinated community engagement.

In keeping with Canada’s 2019-2024 National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, this project will coordinate the pillars of prevention, partnerships and Survivor empowerment to combat human trafficking through a survivor-centered, survivor-informed and gender-responsive lens.