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Stop Sex Trafficking

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What is sex trafficking?

In many cases, women and young girls involved in prostitution are forced into the sex trade through violence, threats of violence, coercion and trickery. York Regional Police considers these people to be victims of crime. We are committed to investigating all incidents relating to human trafficking and providing assistance to victims.

The reality of the sex trade is not shown on TV or in movies. It isn't glamorous and it isn't always a choice. Victims are from right here in our community. They are our classmates, students, friends, neighbours and loved ones. 

Victims of human trafficking

Victims of human trafficking often meet someone who promises to protect and care for them. They are told about an easy way to make money. Victims are left to believe that the lifestyle is safe and glamorous. They are told they won't have to do anything they don't want to do.

Then things begin to change.

Eventually, victims are controlled and unable to go where they want, see who they want and talk to who they want. They may be forced to trade sex for money, food, drugs or a place to stay. They may also be forced to pay protection money or provide sexual services to strangers each day.

Victims are abused emotionally, physically and sexually, sold or traded for drug debt or money. They are made to feel worthless and told that each assault or rape will be the last.

Victims sometimes come to believe that no one, not even the police, can help them. If you are a victim, know that you have a right to be safe and respected. We can help you find a way out.

Identifying victims

Help identify victims of human trafficking by knowing the signs. Victims may:

  • Be unable to present identity documents
  • Have no cell phone
  • Lack access to their own money and resources
  • Work excessively long hours with no or few days off
  • Not go out unaccompanied
  • Be branded with tattoos of the trafficker's name
  • Exhibit signs of chronic fear, guilt, shame, distrust of authority and the inability to make decisions
  • Have bruises and other signs of physical abuse

Purchasing sex

Are you considering responding to an online ad? Purchasing sexual services is illegal in Canada.

Offenders responding to online ads, visiting illicit massage parlours or otherwise looking to purchase sex could be charged with Obtaining Sexual Services For Consideration. They will face a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and escalating fines starting at $500.

Those seeking services from juvenile sex workers face a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment, with a minimum of six months imprisonment for first offence. 

Purchasing sex is not a victimless crime. Victims of sex trafficking are often lured or coerced into becoming sex workers and held against their will, or made to feel there is no escape. 

Contact us

If you need help immediately, call 9-1-1.

If you are a victim or think you know someone who is, please contact:

Special Victims Unit - Human Trafficking Section


York Regional Police is proud to partner with many other law enforcement agencies, government bodies and community-based organizations to try to put an end to sex trafficking. Our partners include: