Anti-Human Trafficking

What is Human Trafficking

Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation, harbouring, and/or exercising control, direction, or influence over the movements of a person, for the purpose of exploitation. There are many types of human trafficking. Some of the most common types of human trafficking taking place in Niagara and Ontario include:

Human trafficking takes place nationally, within Canada, and internationally. As a Canada-USA border region, Niagara is an epicenter for human trafficking. Traffickers control their victims in various ways such as taking away their identity documents and passports, sexual abuse, threats, intimidation, physical violence, and isolation.

Who is most at risk?

1. Indigenous women and girls; migrants and new immigrants; LGBTQ2S+ persons; persons living with disabilities; children in the child welfare system; youth and adults who are socially or economically disadvantaged.

2. Migrant workers may be particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse due to many factors, such as language barriers, working in isolated/remote areas, lack of access to services and support, and lack of access to accurate information about their rights

3. Young people ages 11-14

How to prevent human trafficking in the community

Education is an important part of preventing human trafficking. One of the biggest barriers to education for communities is recognizing that human trafficking is taking place right here in our own backyard. However, human trafficking can take place anywhere which is why it is important to educate youth and parents about the signs of human trafficking, how traffickers manipulate their victims and what to do if you think someone you know is being trafficked.

If you’re a parent looking for resources on how to talk to your children about human trafficking, visit the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking website for more information or download our Human Trafficking Prevention Guide:

In the guide…

  • Definition of human trafficking, luring, and grooming
  • How to spot the signs of luring and trafficking
  • How to talk to your child about human trafficking
  • A guide for creating a safety plan with your child
  • How to help survivors of human trafficking and more…

Click here to download.

Anti-Human trafficking work we have done

At the YWCA Niagara Region, we have been taking steps to support our community in the fight against human trafficking.

Building Partnerships

We have educated local firefighters, police officers, and doctors on how they can recognize sexual exploitation. Now more than ever, we’re able to facilitate important conversations with service providers, law enforcement and first responders, the hospitality industry, and politicians to create awareness around human trafficking.


We work with members of our community and at-risk populations to recognize the reality of human trafficking in Niagara and educate youth on the signs of human trafficking.

Supporting Survivors

We work with survivors of human trafficking to provide resources and support to heal from their trauma and rebuild trust.

What to do if you think someone is being trafficked

If you or someone you know is being trafficked, call Canada’s national human trafficking hotline at 1-833-900-1010.


The YW Safe House: “Home, to New Beginnings”

Summer of 2020 marked the opening of our safe house: “Home, to New Beginnings”.

“Home, to New Beginnings” is a safe house where up to 6 survivors of human trafficking can access secure housing and resources in a healing environment. This safe house fills a void of support for survivors of human trafficking that currently does not exist in Niagara and is the first of its kind in Ontario. “Home, to New Beginnings” supports survivors beyond the need for physical shelter, but also addresses the unique emotional needs of those who have experienced unthinkable trauma.

Named and informed by survivors themselves, our safe house meets survivors wherever they’re at in their healing journey. Survivors are so much more than their human trafficking story – they’re whole human beings with strengths and passions and futures. Our team is here to provide an opportunity for survivors to heal from their trauma on their own terms and provide the resources necessary to make it possible.

“Home, to New Beginnings” is a critical resource for survivors of human trafficking because the reality is human trafficking takes place right in our own backyard – here in Niagara. The rate of human trafficking incidents per 100,000 population is four times higher in St. Catharines-Niagara than the national average. Niagara functions as an epicenter of national and international human trafficking.

Through education, resources, and anti-human trafficking services, the YW works to end human trafficking through prevention while supporting survivors. With your support, we can end human trafficking and give survivors new hope for the future.

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