Facts and Myths about Human Trafficking

From Public Safety Canada

There are many misunderstandings about human trafficking in Canada. Learn more about common misperceptions and realities of human trafficking.

Facts and myths about Human Trafficking

Myth or Fact?

Human trafficking involves people being willingly smuggled across borders in shipping containers.


Human trafficking is not the same as human smuggling. Human trafficking happens without people’s consent and can occur both within borders or across borders, or without transporting victims at all.

Human trafficking happens in Canada.


Human trafficking is happening in communities across Canada. Between 2009-2019, over 2/3 of reported incidents of human trafficking were reported in Ontario, and in general, human trafficking incidents tended to occur in urban centres, notably Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal and HalifaxFootnote 1.

Human traffickers most often target strangers to exploit victims.


Victims may be trafficked by someone they know: a former or current partner, family member, friend, co-worker, or boss. But human traffickers may also target strangers and use methods that can include intimidation, or manipulation, including seemingly-legitimate job offers, or pretending to be romantically interested in a potential victim to gain control over them.

Human trafficking victims include men and boys.


No one is immune to human trafficking. While the majority of victims are women and girls, men and boys are also victims of trafficking. People of all gender identities and gender expressions can be trafficked.

Human trafficking always involves physical violence.


Human trafficking can involve physical violence, but in many cases it doesn’t. Human traffickers may control victims by taking advantage of positions of vulnerability, for example through threats of deportation, emotional abuse, manipulation, and abuse of trust or power.

Are you or is someone you know being trafficked?

If you think you or someone you know may be a victim of human trafficking. Get help now.

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