Human trafficking

Learn how we can work together to reduce the crime of human trafficking and help people at risk.

24-hour help

Call 911 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger.

Call 211 for resources and support.

Help for survivors and victims

Find resources and services for women.

Learn about employment standards – rules for employers and employees in Alberta:

  • what your employer can and cannot ask you to do
  • how to complain if your employer is not treating you right

Apply for a Human Trafficking Protection Order

Alberta has laws to protect survivors of human trafficking.

A Human Trafficking Protection Order:

  • will last 3 years
  • can include weapon restrictions for the trafficker
  • can make sure pets are returned to the survivor

If the human trafficker breaks the protection order:

  • they can go to jail for up to 2 years
  • they can be fined up to $50,000

Survivors can sue human traffickers

Alberta made a law so survivors of human trafficking can sue their trafficker:

  • there doesn't need to be proof of damages
  • there are no time limits so survivors have time to heal before starting a lawsuit

Police can help victims

The police can get a warrant to enter so they can:

  • search for human trafficking victims
  • assist and remove a trafficking victim with their consent
  • remove child victims

About human trafficking

Words we use

These are the words we use to talk about human trafficking:

  • trafficker – anyone doing any kind of human trafficking
  • victim – a person being victimized by a trafficker right now
  • survivor – a person who used to be a victim of human trafficking

Why it is a crime

Human traffickers use other people. Traffickers will:

  • use lies and tricks to control their victim
  • make victims do things against their will with:
    • force, threats or violence
    • drugs
    • blackmail
  • sell victims to another person or group

Traffickers use their victims for:

  • sexual exploitation or sex trafficking
  • forced labour
  • organ harvesting

How it happens

Traffickers make money by victimizing people of all:

  • ages
  • ethnicities
  • genders
  • sexual orientations

Traffickers control their victims

Traffickers can be:

  • one person working alone or
  • part of a gang or organized crime

Some ways a trafficker gets and keeps control over a victim:

  • violence or threats of violence against the victim, their family, friends or even pets
  • being possessive and controlling of the victim's:
    • personal documents or cell phone
    • relationships with their friends and family
    • clothing and appearance
  • offering or giving drugs to the victim

This control increases and gets worse over time – this is when friends and family start to see a change in their loved one.

It is not human smuggling

Human smuggling is moving people across international borders for money:

  • it is illegal migration
  • the transportation or migration is voluntary

A person smuggled into a country is at risk of becoming a victim of human trafficking because:

  • they are in the country illegally
  • a trafficker might have used the promise of getting them into the country to manipulate them

Victims of human trafficking might have legally entered a country. They may have valid documents like:

  • a passport
  • a student or tourist visa
  • working papers

Prevent human trafficking

The best weapon against this crime is awareness. It can happen:

  • to anyone, at any age, rich or poor
  • anywhere

Traffickers prey on people when they are feeling down or in a tough spot. They take advantage of people like:

  • someone needing food, shelter or clothing
  • someone running away from war and unrest
  • runaways wanting to feel loved and accepted

Research shows young people – especially young Indigenous people – are at the highest risk of being victims of sex trafficking in Canada. Know the signs of human trafficking to reduce your risk of becoming a victim.

See the signs

The signs of someone victimized by human trafficking can be hard to see. They might look like a new relationship, friendship, or a great new job for your friend or loved one. Watch for things like:

  • expensive or fashionable gifts from a new person in their life
  • they lose interest in their usual activities or relationships
  • new cell phones, accessories, or tattoos they could not afford themselves
  • they have to ask a new person in their life for permission before going out or doing something
  • they sneak out, break curfew, or won't explain being away from home, school or work
  • they don't want to talk about injuries, pregnancies or visits to a medical clinic
  • they seem unusually distant

Talk about it

Albertans can prevent human trafficking from happening in our communities. Talk to others about human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Be aware of the signs of human trafficking and learn what we can do to help. Tell others.

Talking about human trafficking can seem scary, but it is a very important step to take. Talking about it gives power to possible victims because they know what to watch for.

Topics to start the talk:

  • what personal and emotional space means
  • what healthy boundaries are
  • what consent means – both sexual consent and non-sexual consent
  • how to be safe online
  • how to protect your privacy
  • what healthy and unhealthy relationships are
  • what manipulation, deception and coercion mean
  • violence and threats

Learn what you can do

Help prevent human trafficking by educating yourself. Many websites and not-for-profit organizations offer free awareness courses. Search online:

  • #NotInMyCity on social media
  • The Action Coalition on Human Trafficking Alberta
  • The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking
  • Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline