Human Trafficking

7 Oct, 2022

I believe that to understand a topic, you have to understand the terminology and meaning behind the words used to explain the topic before putting the pieces together. In this blog, we will break down the common words you will encounter when researching or learning more about human trafficking awareness.


Human trafficking- As defined by the UN’s Palermo Protocol
“Trafficking in persons shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”

Trafficking as defined by the government of Criminal Code of Canada:

  • Using abduction, fraud, deception, threat of force, or coercion to accrue, transport, receive, or harbour persons into Canada (Immigration and Refugee Protection Act).
  • Recruiting, transporting, receiving, holding, concealing, harbouring, exercising control, direction, or influence over the movements of a person for the purpose of exploiting them – making them feel that their lives or the lives or safety of others are in danger

Sex trafficking
This is a form of human trafficking that involves recruiting, moving, or holding victims for sexual exploitation purposes.

Aura Freedom views sex trafficking as “a form of gender-based violence and the ultimate manifestation of intersecting inequities (gender, race, class, etc.).”

Sex traffickers
People who can coerce victims into providing sexual services by force or through threats, including mental and emotional abuse and manipulation.

Abduction is the act of leading someone away by force or lies.

A female, appointed by the trafficker/pimp, whose job it is to supervise the others and report back to the pimp any rule violations. She operates as his “right hand” and may be required to help instruct victims, collect money, book hotel rooms, post ads, or inflict punishments on other girls.

The act of forcing another person to act against their will using violence, the threat of violence, or other fears. Examples include but are not limited to the fear of being returned to a war-torn home, being separated from loved ones, or losing immigration status.

Child Grooming
Involves befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a child and sometimes the family, with the goal of lowering the child’s inhibitions, with the objective of sexual abuse.

Child Sexual Abuse Material
Any material depicting child sexual abuse and other sexualized content involving children.

Choose Up
This occurs when a survivor has to pick a new pimp. It can be done either voluntarily or by looking another pimp in the eyes. In the latter case, the victim has “chosen” that new pimp even if they didn’t want to.

Debt Bondage
Occurs when a trafficked person owes money to his or her trafficker for transportation, visa fees, safe passage through borders, food, clothing, housing, or drugs and is expected to repay it. The trafficked person has no control over the accounting of the debt. A trafficker may arbitrarily increase the amount a trafficked person owes at any time while promising that he will go free as soon as the debt is paid – which it might never be.

Equity is defined as “the state, quality or ideal of being just, impartial and fair”. It involves trying to understand and give people what they need to enjoy full, healthy lives, even if this means giving different things to different people.

The Game
A code name that refers to being involved in trafficking people for sex.

Grooming occurs when a trafficker or recruiter deliberately develops a relationship of physical and/or emotional dependency with someone in preparation for exploiting them. Grooming tactics can include gift giving, providing drugs, flattery, giving affection and isolating the person from their family and friends.

Guerilla Pimp
A Guerilla pimp doesn’t bother using the lover boy scenario; instead, they control their victims almost entirely using threats, violence, and abuse.

Harbouring or receiving occurs when a human trafficker hides or houses a trafficked person while keeping them under their control with the intent to exploit her.

Human Rights
Human rights are the rights to which persons are inherently entitled to because they are human beings. Human rights describe how we instinctively expect to be treated as persons. They define what we are all entitled to – a life of equality, dignity and respect, to live free from discrimination and harassment.

In Canada, your human rights are protected by Canada’s Constitution and by federal, provincial and territorial legislation. These rights are consistent with those under international treaties to which Canada is a party.

Human smuggling
The “facilitation, transportation, or procurement of the illegal entry of a person or persons across an international border.”

Intersectionality is how social scientists explain what happens when someone experiences more than one factor of oppression at a time. Factors of oppression include race, gender, ability, sexuality, and socioeconomic status, among other things.

A trafficker may try to distance the victim from their friends and family, making them feel like the trafficker is the only person who cares about them. This practice helps the trafficker assert control and continue to manipulate the victim.

A person who buys sex.

Lover Boy/ Romeo Scenario
This is the most common tactic used by pimps and traffickers in North America. It relies on gaining the victim’s trust and love with gifts, affection, and lies about a great fake life together. When trust has been established, and the victim believes they can have the world, the pimp puts them to work.

Sex traffickers can be strangers, someone connected to the victim through social media or someone they know personally. The trafficker may suddenly be very interested in the victim, say all the right things, take them out and spend money on them. This may go on for weeks or months with the goal of securing their recruitment into the game.

The slang name for an individual who uses physical, emotional, mental and/or sexual violence to control their victim and arranges clients for sex. They also take a percentage of the earnings.

Out of Pocket
This is when a victim is not under the control of a pimp but working on a pimp-controlled track. It leaves them vulnerable to threats, harassment, and violence, making the victim “choose” a pimp. This may also refer to a victim disobeying the pimp’s rules.

Pimp Grooming
This involves befriending and establishing a relationship with a minor to recruit them into becoming a sex trafficker.

Reckless Eyeballing
A term which refers to the act of looking around instead of keeping your eyes on the ground. Eyeballing is against the rules and could lead an untrained victim to “choose up” by mistake.

A crime that occurs when someone online threatens to send a sexual image or video of another individual unless they are compensated financially or sexually. Sextortion usually starts with normal online conversations with a predator posing as another youth, and then when chats move to more private platforms, they quickly turn very personal and sexual.

Sexual Exploitation
The World Health Organization defines sexual exploitation as, “Actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.”

Sex trade
The Sex Trade in Canada involves a range of activities, including but not limited to escort services, street-level sex work, pornography, internetwork, and phone sex operators.

Sugar Daddy
An older male who provides a younger individual, often under the age of 18, with gifts, money, shelter, clothes and other objects in return for their company and/or sexual favours.
Systemic Discrimination
Systemic discrimination describes a dynamic system that produces and maintains discrimination through individuals, institutions, and social norms. It cuts across major political, economic and social organizations in a society.

Trauma Bonding or Chains of Attachment
This occurs when a person develops positive feelings toward their trafficker and remains loyal to them. They may begin to exhibit signs such as showing gratitude for small acts of kindness shown by the trafficker, rationalizing violence by the trafficker, defending them, or believing that only their trafficker loves them.

The state of being more at-risk or exposed to dangers or harm. Vulnerability can be physical: like being exposed to the elements, or emotional: like being lost or seeking acceptance.

Information was gathered from:
Collaborative Community Solutions-
Aurora Freedom-
Government of Canada-

Statistics Canada-