Sexual Exploitation & Human Trafficking - Stride Tips

Sexual Exploitation:

To be defined as sexual exploitation, 3 things are required; a trafficker, a sex-trade buyer and a sexually exploited person.

How Does it Happen?

Many of our most marginalized community members are recruited or coerced into sexual exploitation due to complex poverty, social isolation or basic survival. The vast majority of persons being exploited and trafficked are women and girls from Indigenous and other racialize communities. Most of the traffickers and buyers are men. It’s important to consider that young men newcomer communities themselves have been selling; did they have a hard time getting a well paying job or face other economic or social barriers?


Sometimes personal power is used to manipulate and harm another person into making them think they “owe” another or are scared to disobey. When there is an unequal balance of power in our society and our relationships we become vulnerable to victimization; to both being exploited or exploiting others.

Sexual exploiters:

“Sexual exploiters are people who seek out and bring children and youth into sexual exploitation and human trafficking. If someone arranges hotels, places ads and drives children or youth for the purposes of exchanging sex for money or goods then that person is a sexual exploiter. Exploiters can be anyone: rich or poor, male or female, young or old. They can pose as a girlfriend or boyfriend, and are manipulative” (Government of Alberta)

Sex Trade buyer:

The people that use their power and money to buy sex from women and children. Sex buyers only care about fulfilling their desires.


Red Flags...Things to watch for
Some examples of what a trafficker (seller) might say to exploit, manipulate and further isolate a vulnerable person.
“I will give you some drugs to make you feel happy”
“Your family will reject you or punish you”
“All these fancy things and drugs I bought you, you have to pay for”
“your parents don’t love you” “your parents are too strict” “you’ll have a new family”
“you’re in Canada now, be a modern girl” “I will take care of you”
“you want some beautiful clothes, a fancy purse? I’ll help you to get all that”


The Law In Canada

New legislation BIll C-36, to protect those who sell their own sexual services;

Protect communities (especially children) from the harms caused by prostitution. Bill C-36                                

  • The police WILL NOT ARREST those being sexually exploited.

  • The police WILL ARREST those who are selling and buying sex.

Exploitation On-line

Today most of the buying and selling is happening on the internet. Buyers look on the internet where traffickers put photos of women. Arrangements by text message and through apps, are increasingly common. Currently, young people are using social media means, and they can be reached through this means. It is important to be aware of the dangers; what to look for and what to do if we think someone is being exploited.

Since 75% of people working in the Canadian sex trade began working as a child, the prevention of child and youth sexual exploitation is fundamental in stopping sexual exploitation.

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The Protection of Sexually Exploited Children Act (PSECA)

This act recognizes that children involved in sexual exploitation are victims of sexual abuse who need help and protection and have the right to physical and emotional safety, security, and well-being. If a child or youth is involved in prostitution, their family and caregivers do not require child intervention status to receive services.


  • A child involved in prostitution is placed in a protective safe house and informed why he or she was in a risk situation, how long is he or she going to be in placement, and court dates.

  • The child has the right to legal representation. For support, contact the OCYA (Office of the Child and Youth Advocate Alberta) Toll-free: (800) 661-3446 or Email:

  • 16 to 17-year-old youth, who may not be living at home or have guardian support can access all available support services without parental or guardian permission.

  • Youth who have an agreement unde PSECA at age 18 can continue to receive support services up to age 24.

  • In safe houses children are assessed for child-protection needs, medical concerns, drug and alcohol use, family support and their level of risk related to their involvement in sexual exploitation. If the assessment determines that the child needs further protection, he or she will be offered a variety of services including drug and alcohol counselling, medical supports, counselling or psychological services, educational programming, cultural supports and life skills support.

  • This additional time spent in the protective safe house allows staff to work with the child or youth, help them break the cycle of abuse and begin the recovery.

Who Can I Contact?

  • CEASE: Centre to End All Sexual Exploitation
  • ACT Alberta: Alberta Coalition on Trafficking Alberta
  • Edmonton Police Service. Human Trafficking and Exploitation Unit: 780 423 4567
  • DECSA:
  • Child Abuse Hotline: 1-8000-387- KIDS (5437)


Neximar Alarcon