In Alberta, human trafficking is real – and it doesn’t involve shipping containers like in the movies. People are trafficked for sex most often by someone they know. Over the past years, ALERT has seen the age range of trafficked individuals decrease.
Since the conception of ALERT’s human trafficking unit in 2020, counter-trafficking teams have lended their expertise to partner agencies in over 500 agency assists across the province. ALERT works swiftly to combat this violent type of crime and keep Alberta communities safe.
Expertise lended to parter agencies to help combat human trafficking.
Laid against persons involved in human trafficking, in the past year alone.
Dangerous offenders arrested by ALERT teams since creation of the human trafficking unit.
Victims rescued, referred or provided with trauma care/other support by ALERT and partners.
Anyone can be victimized by sex trafficking. The process involves exploiting a person’s vulnerabilities in order for the trafficker(s) to gain and maintain psychological control over the victim. While it heavily involves emotional control, physical violence is almost always part of the sex trafficking market too.
Engaging in a new relationship with someone older and/or richer. This can take place online or in-person. Does this relationship seem to involve manipulation and control?
Are you or someone you know receiving gifts, cash or other commodities from a partner for no apparent reason?
Are you or someone you know involved in a relationship which seems to have taken a sudden or unusual negative turn? This could come across as an increase in violence, heightened control, or more manipulation along with other signs.
Does a relationship seem oddly controlling and/or involve intimidation? Control and intimidation in need not be physical. Traffickers often control and manipulate victims psychologically and emotionally.
Is the relationship partner engaging in behaviour that affects you without your consent, such as redistributing intimate images?
Are you living or working in horrible conditions? This may be another sign that you’re victimized by human trafficking crime.
Recently, ALERT has seen an alarming trend: decreasing age of persons being trafficked (more minor children cases) and an increase in criminals leveraging online interaction with minors as a funnel for human trafficking. Below are some behavioural queues to watch for.
While human trafficking cases often involve male offenders and female victims, criminal organizations may use female recruiters. Slightly older than the victim, these recruiters will build connection with young women and teens.
Opening up online and sharing emotional status across social media and other platforms can increase vulnerability to exploitation. Criminals can take advantage of displayed emotional vulnerability to emotionally manipulate one into human trafficking.
ALERT has partnered with the RCMP in issuing a Canada-wide warrant for a human trafficking suspect. The suspect is allegedly involved in sex trafficking a 12-year old girl.
An Edmonton couple has been charged with numerous offences after a 16-year-old disclosed sex trafficking victimization to a school counsellor, including recruitment and forced sex work.
Safety Network Coordinators have been added to ALERT's Human Trafficking Units to assist survivors with additional resources to help with trauma experiences linked to human trafficking victimization.
#notinmycity is an organization bringing about awareness and taking collective action to prevent and end human trafficking and sexual exploitation. They build alliances to support, facilitate and advocate for the development and mobilization of a strategic, integrated plan to bring about transformational and sustainable change at all levels.
ACT Alberta works in collaboration with local, provincial and national partners to identify, respond to, and prevent human trafficking. They coordinate and provide services to individuals experiencing human trafficking, provide training and education, conduct research and data analysis and build capacity for community response.
 – Public Safety Canada: Human Trafficking
 – ACT Alberta
 – Statistics Canada: Trafficking in persons in Canada, 2020
 – https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/cntrng-crm/hmn-trffckng/abt-hmn-trffckng-en.aspx#a2