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Raising awareness key to combatting human trafficking: OPP

'In Ontario, sex trafficking is the most reported type of human trafficking,' says minister
human trafficking prostitution AdobeStock_111184971

On Human Trafficking Awareness Day OPP shared human trafficking statistics that show in the last 15 months 28 people have been charged in Ontario.

The victims ranged from 12 to 47 years old, while the accused ranged from 18 to 44 years old.

“In Ontario, sex trafficking is the most reported type of human trafficking," said Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. "It is a vicious crime that creates lasting emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental trauma for survivors – and it poses a real and growing threat to the children and youth of our province."

Traffickers target vulnerabilities to gain trust and form a bond with their victims. They identify and fulfill a person’s needs and then use that dependence to control and exploit them. Sex trafficking victims are primarily young women and girls, and the average age of recruitment is just 13 years old.

"Raising awareness is the first line of defence in preventing human trafficking, and we must also ensure strong support for survivors," added Michael Kerzner, Solicitor General. "Ontario is taking action to fight this horrific crime through a five-year Anti-Human Trafficking Strategy."

Human Trafficking Awareness Day teaches Ontarians about this issue, including how trafficking happens, how to spot the warning signs, and where to get help. It is also critically important that victims and survivors know how they can safely access the supports they need to heal and rebuild their lives.

"Continued collaboration with our partners is key to raising awareness and combatting human trafficking," says Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. "That's why we are working closely with ONroute and our trucking industry partners on the ground to improve our ability to stop human trafficking along Ontario's transportation corridors." 

The Provincial Human Trafficking Intelligence-led Joint Forces Strategy (IJFS) members from the OPP, Toronto Police Service, Greater Sudbury Police Service and Treaty Three Police Service shared human trafficking statistics to show the cooperative work of the strategy and the complexity of human trafficking investigations.

Since the IJFS was created in December 2021, the 21 police services have:

  • conducted 65 investigations;
  • assisted 61 victims;
  • laid 72 human trafficking charges;
  • laid 167 additional charges; and,
  • charged 28 people.

Human trafficking investigations are complex and often require a cross-jurisdictional approach as they may cross into other areas of Ontario. The median length of time to complete a human trafficking case is 382 days according to Statistics Canada says an OPP news release.

"Ontario has a higher average annual rate of police-reported human trafficking cases due to the many urban areas across our province, compared to the national average," explainsInspector Susan Gomes. "Increased access to major transportation and transit hubs makes mobility very convenient, along with easy access to larger hotels and other accommodation facilities."

"At the centre of the human trafficking investigations are the people who are being exploited - the victims," says Inspector Tricia Rupert. "Often individuals who come from extremely vulnerable populations are more vulnerable to being trafficking and it is estimated that approximately 50 per cent of the trafficked women and girls in Canada are Indigenous."

If you or someone you know is being trafficked, call your local police. The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking has resources available for victims and survivors of human trafficking on their website at A national hotline is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-833-900-1010.

For information visit or to report a potential case and find services across the country, call the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-833-900-1010.