Canada Human Trafficking
Threat Assessment Report
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Project SECLUSION was
prepared for the Immigration and Passport Branch as a national overview of human
trafficking activities in an effort to identify the extent of organized crime
involvement, transnational associations, source countries, as well as issues
and challenges faced by law enforcement. This report also serves as a
preliminary baseline of human trafficking activities affecting Canada in both the transnational and domestic perspectives.
Issues identified in
this assessment were the result of a thorough analysis of investigations with
human trafficking elements which occurred between 2005 and 2009. In order to
establish consistency, the analysis was framed by the definition of human
trafficking as set by the Criminal Code (CC) and the Immigration and Refugee
Protection Act (IRPA).
convictions of human trafficking have mostly involved victims who are
citizens and/or permanent residents of Canada
trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation has been mostly associated
with organized prostitution occurring discreetly behind fronts, like
escort agencies and residential brothels. Such establishments are
extremely difficult for law enforcement to detect without proactive
- Many human
trafficking suspects have been linked to other organized criminal
activities, such as conspiracy to commit murder, credit card fraud,
mortgage fraud, immigration fraud, and organized prostitution, in Canada or
trafficking suspects usually share similar ethnicity with their associates
and have ethnic ties to source countries of their migrant workers.
trafficking investigations have found that foreign national sex workers
who engage illegally in the sex trade are vulnerable to being exploited
transnational trafficking networks are believed to have operators based in
source countries to facilitate the recruitment and transport segments of
the trafficking process. Some organizers likely provide high quality false
travel documents for migrants to travel deceptively to Canada.
crime networks with Eastern European links have been involved in the
organized entry of women from former Soviet States into Canada for
employment in escort services in the Greater Toronto Area and possibly in
massage and escort services in the Montreal area.
These groups have demonstrated transnational capabilities and significant
associations with convicted human traffickers in the Czech Republic, Germany, Belarus, and Israel.
trafficking has been identified in bawdy houses operated by Asian
prostitution rings. The establishments are discreet and staffed solely by
Asian migrants or persons of Asian descent.
- Asian sex
workers have been observed to travel inter-provincially between Canadian
cities and possibly to the U.S, to prostitute in bawdy houses.
Canadian cities with an established network of Asian organized crime are
destinations for migrant sex workers from Asia. Organized crime groups operate
multiple bawdy houses across a city and some are believed to associate
with prostitution rings in other cities.
found that Asian sex workers are not necessarily recruited from overseas.
Most foreign nationals that were found working in bawdy houses had entered
and looked for sex work after they arrived in Canada.
convicted offenders of domestic human trafficking were found to be
affiliated to street gangs known to law enforcement for their pimping
culture. It is unknown if human trafficking is an organized gang activity
or motivated independently by financial gain.
human trafficking victims have mostly been recruited through the Internet
or by an acquaintance. The victims were groomed, manipulated, and coerced
to enter the sex trade.
victims of domestic human trafficking have been underage girls exploited
through prostitution in exotic dance clubs and/or escort services. Control
tactics employed by traffickers to retain victims in exploitative
situations include social isolation, forcible confinement, withholding
identification documents, imposing strict rules, limitation of movement,
as well as threats and violence.
nationals who were identified as victims of human trafficking were
trafficked for sexual exploitation outside of and before arriving in Canada. Some of
these identified victims may have been brought to Canada by their
traffickers with the intention to further exploit them.
human trafficking indicators were identified in some cases involving
foreign national domestic workers who were smuggled into Canada by their
employers. These live-in domestic workers were controlled, threatened,
underpaid, and forced to work by their employers.
- The RCMP
has not identified organized crime involvement in human trafficking for
labour exploitation. Labour trafficking investigations involved
individuals or family units taking advantage and exploiting foreign
workers for personal gain.
visa-exemption policies have been exploited by criminal groups to
facilitate the entry of foreign nationals for illegal employment in the
sex trade. Investigations have identified the exploitation of Israeli,
Estonian, Latvian, and Korean passports for this purpose.
suggests that human trafficking suspects who engage in the same avenue
within the sex trade are likely associated. These suspects have been found
to use similar control tactics and methods of operation; however their
level of cooperation is unconfirmed.
majority of Asian national sex workers found in bawdy houses had entered Canada with
visitor or student visas, some of whom were found to have overstayed their
victims or potential victims in human trafficking investigations believed
that if they did not comply to exploitation, their employers would have
been capable of inflicting harm on family members in Canada or overseas,
while those engaged in sex work feared that their employers would disclose
to their families that they were prostituting in Canada.
advances allowed individuals or criminal networks involved in human
trafficking for sexual exploitation to recruit and advertise victims,
particularly underage girls, remotely and discreetly via the Internet.
are suspected of exploiting illicit drug dependencies as a way to recruit
and control sex trade workers. Illicit drug addictions may increase a sex
trade workerís vulnerability to further exploitation and trafficking.
are lacking to ensure fair business practices and legitimacy of third
party companies that lease or recruit foreign workers on behalf of
Canadian employers. Some of these businesses were found to have
manipulated the federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program through
misrepresentation and fraud for financial gain.