In December 2013, City Council adopted a “working definition” of human trafficking and approved several initiatives to address this hidden crime.

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The City of Toronto has developed a “working definition” of human trafficking that includes all forms of forced labour, including sexual exploitation:

“An act by a person, or group of people that involves recruiting, transporting or receiving persons, harbouring, luring, exercising control over a person by means of threat, use of force or other forms of coercion or influence for the purpose of exploitation, including sexual exploitation, forced labour, and/or forced marriages.”

(Language adapted by Canada’s Criminal Code, UNESCO, and Canada’s National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking.)


Since then, the City has worked with a range of partners to increase the availability and effectiveness of services to support trafficked persons. Twenty-one City divisions and agencies have been collaborating and have achieved numerous accomplishments, which include:

  1. Invested $1,050,000 for the City’s first Transitional House for girls and young women;
  2. Trained Municipal Licensing & Standards bylaw inspectors and management staff to recognize the indicators of trafficked persons;
  3. Held two Shelter, Support and Housing Administration symposiums on human trafficking for staff and agencies; and
  4. Funded a community partner to develop the Toronto Counter-Human Trafficking Network, and to create a Toronto Response Model.


Over 90 per cent of trafficked cases involved domestic human trafficking, and less than 10 per cent involved people being brought into Canada from abroad. (Data source: Status of Women Canada)

Toronto statistics:

  • 1,290 Charges laid
  • 569 Occurrences
  • 188 Search warrants
  • 189 Arrests
  • 126 Victims
  • 10 Convictions

(Data source: Toronto Police Service – 2013 to 2016)


Toronto City Council condemned the horrific crime of human trafficking and is committed to working with all stakeholders, including other orders of government, to eradicate human trafficking in the city of Toronto. Council Decisions related to this social issue are listed below: