Human Trafficking: An Immigration Lawyer’s Perspective
Human trafficking involves recruiting, moving, or holding victims to exploit them for profit, usually for sexual reasons or forced labour (Government of Canada). Traffickers control and pressure victims by force or through threats, including emotional and mental manipulation and abuse.
To shed light on this issue, we recently had the privilege of interviewing David Garson, an immigration lawyer, to discuss the increasing prevalence of immigration scams and human trafficking, particularly in Canada.
David shares his personal experience with immigration scams, which often take the form of impersonation. In the case of immigration scams, impersonation often involves scammers posing as immigration officers or lawyers, misleading potential newcomers in the immigration process for financial gain.
Be sure to visit and share our Newcomer’s Guide to Scams and Fraud to learn more about the most common scams targeting newcomers to Canada, how to spot them, how to prevent them and what to do if they happen.
KnowledgeFlow – Newcomers: Scams and Fraud Awareness
Immigration Scams to Human Trafficking
David also explains how immigration scams can turn into human trafficking. This is an ongoing problem in all forms of work in Canada, particularly industries with many migrant workers.
Would a trafficking victim who illegally entered Canada be deported if they contact police? David discusses immigration status, legal assistance, and protection from traffickers.
Human Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation Purposes
Human trafficking doesn’t require crossing borders and often does not take place as it is represented in media and television. Some cases of human trafficking begin with sextortion: extorting money or sexual favours from a victim by threatening to reveal evidence (usually photos or videos) of their sexual activity. Sextortion is an increasing problem in Canada, with a 56% increase in reports of teenagers being sextorted from March-August 2022 (Cybertip.ca).
View our resources on sextortion to learn how to protect yourself, your family, and how to support victims of sextortion.
KnowledgeFlow – Sextortion Scam Awareness: Tip Sheet for teens
KnowledgeFlow – Sextortion Scam Awareness
KnowledgeFlow – Guide to Supporting a Victim of Sextortion
Human trafficking, for labour, sexual, or other purposes, is never the victim’s fault. If you or someone you know is being trafficked, here are some ways to seek help. Stay tuned for our in-depth resource on The Role of Technology in Human Trafficking and The Role of Cyber Security to Prevent Human Trafficking.
- Canada’s National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-833-900-1010
- Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking
- Your local police
- Kids Help Phone: Text CONNECT to 686868, Call 1-800-668-6868
- Government of Canada – Human Trafficking