Human trafficking is difficult to measure, due in part to its hidden nature. While there has been an increase in the number of human trafficking incidents reported by police in recent years, human trafficking remains highly underreported for reasons such as:

  • Victims are usually in a physically, socially, or economically vulnerable position, making them unwilling or unable to report to police.
  • Traffickers sometimes deliberately implicate victims in humiliating or illegal activities to keep them from reporting; for example, humiliating sexual acts, use of illicit substances and fear of exposure to family members or authorities.
  • Physical force or psychological techniques are used to intimidate victims; for example, increasing a victim’s sense of isolation and dependence by removal of forms of identification or threatening of family members.
  • Some victims distrust police; for some victims, police in their native countries may have returned them to the traffickers, potentially leading to severe repercussions from the trafficker. Victims with such experiences or beliefs may mistrust Canadian authorities, as well.
  • Victims may have language barriers or may be unaware of their legal rights.


Data table for Chart 1

Table summary

This table displays the results of Data table for Chart 1. The information is grouped by Year (appearing as row headers), Number of incidents and Rate per 100,000 population (appearing as column headers).
Year Number of incidents Rate per 100,000 population
2009 41 0.12
2010 26 0.08
2011 76 0.22
2012 92 0.26
2013 115 0.33
2014 200 0.56
2015 330 0.92
2016 340 0.94

Credit: Statistics Canada