Human Trafficking

The offence of human trafficking is outlined in section 279.01(1) of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of human trafficking when they recruit, transport, transfer, receive, hold, conceal, or harbour someone, or exercise control, direction, or influence over someone’s movements, to exploit them or facilitate their exploitation.


Person A works on person B’s farm 12 hours a day for free out of fear that person A will kill them if they try to leave or demand payment.

Person C keeps person D in a hotel room where person C is made to work as a prostitute for person D’s financial benefit. Person D repeatedly tells person C that if she tries to leave then he will beat her and leave her on the street. Person D also does not let person C leave the room without him.


R. v. Lopez, 2018 ONSC 4749

In R. v. Lopez, the accused was convicted of one count of human trafficking when he forced his girlfriend, who was a prostitute, to meet more clients than she wanted, physically and verbally abusing her if she did not bring in enough money at the end of the week. The accused decided what days she would work, how much money she would get every day, and when she could leave the hotel she was working out of and living in.

Offence Specific Defence(s)

No Exploitation

Where the person does not intend to exploit the person they are recruiting, transporting, transferring, receiving, holding, concealing, harbouring, controlling, directing or influencing, they may not have completed the offence of human trafficking.

For example, if person A is recruiting person B for a legitimate business at a university job fair, person A has not completed the offence of human trafficking.

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