Anti-Sex Trafficking

Sex trafficking is one of the most profitable and widespread crimes in the world. It is predatory and damaging to victims, survivors, their families and communities. The action of schools, families and community partners will help prevent, identify and recognize sex trafficking in order to act quickly to ensure appropriate interventions.

The Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline 1-833-900-1010 (available 24/7 in over 200 languages) or you can visit the website canadianhumantraffickinghotline.ca.

What families need to know about sex trafficking

What is sex trafficking?

Sex trafficking is a form of sexual exploitation and is a crime in Canada. This may include recruiting, harbouring, transporting, obtaining or providing a person for the purpose of sex. It involves the use of force, physical or psychological manipulation or deception. Most victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation are women and girls, but anyone can be targeted. For more information, please see Ministry of Education Policy Program Memorandum (PPM) 166

 How do sex traffickers lure children and youth?

  • Traffickers approach and care for vulnerable children and young people by fulfilling their unmet needs - such as love, affection, a sense of belonging and other basic needs such as housing or food security - and/ or using threats, physical violence and control.
  • Traffickers can use different ways such as becoming online friends with young people and luring/hooking them with promises of love, friendship, money, fame and more.
  • Young people may come from rural communities to move to larger cities or may be trafficked into their own towns.

Why are some students at risk?

  • Systemic racism and discrimination have led to a higher risk for Indigenous and Black children and youth in care (custody) than other targeted populations.
  • Indigenous peoples are particularly vulnerable to sex trafficking due to historical and ongoing systemic discrimination, including intergenerational trauma resulting from residential schools.
  • Language barriers, isolation, economic disadvantage or lack of community and social supports can make newcomer youth more vulnerable to trafficking.
  • Students with disabilities may be victims of bullying and isolation.
  • Students who are 2SLGBTQIA+ experience high rates of bullying, assaults, and sexual abuse, and they may face isolation and experience homelessness if they are rejected by family or their community.

Why is it urgent to act?

  • Ontario had the highest number of police-reported human trafficking incidents of any province in the country in 2019.
  • Students are spending more time online on different social media platforms and traffickers can use these means to recruit young people.
  • With the average age of recruitment into sex trafficking in Canada being 13, school-aged children and youth are prime targets for traffickers for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

What are some myths and facts about sex trafficking?

 Facts

  • Sex trafficking happens in most major cities in Canada. Ontario is a hub.
  • Many youth are lured with false promises of security, love and acceptance
  • Many victims do not have prior addictions, nor are they working in the sex industry prior to exploitation.
  • Trafficking affects more females, but boys and men are also trafficked. Although males make up the larger part of traffickers, 30 per cent of offenders have been found to be women

Myths

  • Only females are trafficked
  • Only men can be traffickers
  • Sex trafficking only happens in less developed countries

How can I protect my child from the risks presented online?

  • Cyber ​​safety is about setting clear expectations with your child about using the internet. Students need to be made aware of the risks of using certain apps and how to protect themselves from unwanted contact, as well as know where to turn when they suspect they may be in danger/at risk.
  • Families and schools are encouraged to continue to work together to educate students about the positives and negatives of the Internet, including the harmful effects of sharing explicit images.
  • Popular social media platforms (e.g. Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat) are new ways for traffickers to target their victims. It is therefore important to monitor what our children do on these platforms.

What are the possible signs that my child is involved in sex trafficking?

  • decrease in academic performance
  • withdraws from social activities
  • a noticeable change in behavior (i.e. being tense/hyper-vigilant, nervous or anxious)
  • change of dress, e.g. the child may have expensive new clothes that you did not buy them
  • in possession of one or more cell phones with blocked/private phone numbers
  • increased drug/alcohol use

What can I do as a parent or guardian to support my child if I suspect or my child discloses information to me that they are being recruited or involved in sex trafficking?

 Be a supportive listener by:
  • Listen to your child without judgment or blame.
  • Try to understand some of the choices your child makes and the pressures they face, even if you don't understand them.
  • Be aware and soften your body language.
  • Use the language that they use, e.g. if they say "boyfriend", use that term.
  • Let them take the lead in sharing, avoid leading the conversation.
  • Contact the principal of your child's school to share your concerns.
  • Look for organizations in your community that have outreach programs.
  • Contact the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline 1-833-900-1010 to put you in touch with services/support

What support will be provided to my child if they disclose that they have been trafficked?

The Greater Essex County District School Board is creating a protocol for schools to help students who disclose that they have been or are victims of sex trafficking. They are supported and have access to appropriate resources (i.e. Board mental-health professionals, community agencies). The goal is to keep the student safe physically and emotionally.

Students can also use the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline for assistance 1-833-900-1010 (available 24/7 in 200 languages)

What does the Greater Essex County District School Board do to educate and raise awareness in its school communities?

  • The Greater Essex County District School Board has developed mandatory training for staff to learn about sex trafficking and the next steps if a student discloses that they are being trafficked.
  • A protocol is being created for teachers and administrators when supporting students who have disclosed that they are or have been trafficked.
  • Build relationships with community partners to support educators and students in the classroom.

Where can I find information about the new Ministry of Education policy?

“The Keeping Students Safe policy – the first of its kind for an education sector in Canada – sets a strong ground work for Ontario school boards to build upon to create local anti-sex trafficking protocols. This new policy will ensure every school board has a plan in place to protect students and school communities to play a key role in fighting sex trafficking and keeping children and youth safe from sexual exploitation.”

Resources available to support anti-sex trafficking in the Windsor-Essex County area

Kids Help Phone

Windsor Essex Children's Aid Society

Legal Assistance of Windsor

Victim Services of Windsor-Essex County

Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centre

Teen Health Centre

Windsor Police Services

Ontario Provincial Police

Lasalle Police Department

Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking

Speak Out- Stop Sex Trafficking (Indigenous-focused anti-sex trafficking support)

POSSE  Peer Outreach Support & Services (POSSE) supports Indigenous victims of sex-trafficking- CALL (902) 799-0752

Community Living Windsor

Trans Wellness Ontario

Aura Freedom International