Sexual Exploitation & Human Trafficking

What is Sexual Exploitation & Human Trafficking?

  • Sexual Exploitation (in-person or online) refers to anyone under 18 years of age who is exchanging a sexual act for something in return.  It involves manipulating, tricking, forcing, or blackmailing a young person. Sexual exploitation does not necessarily end at the age of 19. It is also present in the adult sex industry.
  • Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation, harboring, and/or exercising control or influence over someone’s movements to exploit them, typically through sexual exploitation or forced labor.

Who is at risk?

Anyone is at risk, regardless of their background or status. However, these types of crimes mostly affect women and girls.

Groups who are at a greater risk include:

  • Indigenous women and girls.
  • Vulnerable youth or those involved in the child welfare or juvenile justice system.
  • 2SLGBTQIA+ persons.
  • Newcomers.
  • Individuals who face social or economic barriers. 

Key Terms to Know


What is grooming? (click to expand) »

Grooming is when someone tries to control another person by making them feel comfortable with manipulative behaviors. This often happens to children or adults targeted by the person doing the grooming. By normalizing certain expectations and behaviors, the groomer gains power over the victim.

To learn more, check out this video from the Government of Canada.


What is sexting? (click to expand) »

Sexting is when someone sends or shares sexual images or videos with other people. This could be someone they know, trust, or strangers they meet online. Children or teens might think it’s harmless or nothing bad can happen, but once the image is sent, it is out of their control and could end up hurting themselves or someone else.

To learn more, check out this video from the Government of Canada.


What is sextortion? (click to expand) »

Sextortion is when someone threatens to send a sexual image or video of an individual if they do not give more sexual content, pay them, or do what they ask.

To learn more, check out these videos from Sexual Exploitation Education (SEE):


What is capping? (click to expand) »

Capping is the act of secretly recording or taking screenshots of someone engaging in sexual activities on various video streaming platforms, without their knowledge. The material may be used to extort or share with others without consent.

To learn more, check out this video from the Government of Canada.


It’s important to remember, these crimes are illegal and never the victim’s fault.

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Last updated: 2024-05-30