In alberta,

HUMAN Trafficking is real

Learn how to stay safe

In Alberta, human trafficking is real. This is a crime that happens right here in our communities, affecting Albertans and executed by Albertan perpetrators. 

The first line of defence is you – criminals often seek out friendships/relationships online in order to recruit victims. Learn to recognize the signs and traps of sex trafficking to protect yourself and stay safe online.


Need exiting support?

Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at:


Emergency/Crime in Progress?

Call emergency services for immediate help:


Learn The Basics

Sex trafficking is a crime that falls under the umbrella of human trafficking. Globally, human trafficking is the second most profitable criminal activity after drug trafficking, and is one of the most violent and degrading crimes in the world.

Trafficking and smuggling are often confused. In Alberta, sex trafficking rarely involves smuggling people across the border and rarely involves shipping containers or international travel as often seen in movies.

Sex trafficking is made up of several elements including:

  • Seduction and romance to lure young people (compliments, affection, gifts, making you feel special) 
  • Entrapment (e.g. owing them for the gifts)
  • Coercion, Violence & Abuse: inflicting physical/psychological violence on you, forcing engagement in sexual activities, assault, etc.
  • Isolation: preventing you from keeping in touch/accessing friends, family, or help; removing access to devices, social media and/or identification documents

Anyone can become a victim of sex trafficking. Often, everything seems very normal and pleasant until the trafficker turns the romantic scheme back against the victim, and becomes forceful and violent.

Young women and girls are victims of sex trafficking more than any other group.

These days, sex trafficking often starts online. Traffickers (“pimps”) will connect with young people on social media, dating apps, and games. This will often come in the form of a new friend request, message, picture (e.g. Snapchat), or match (e.g. Tinder). 

Sometimes, traffickers will use other women or girls to befriend you. Remember, anyone can be hiding behind an online profile – there is no guarantee that the profile actually represents the person you are talking to.

  • Stranger danger is online. Are you sure you know who you’re talking to?
  • Traffickers take advantage of people who display their vulnerabilities. Avoid sharing too much about your feelings on social media and dating apps (e.g. being sad, having a tough day, feeling lonely, etc.)
  • Watch for key flags such as: lots of compliments, offering gifts, money, alcohol, drugs outings, parties – these are often things traffickers will offer.
  • Avoid sharing personal information and don’t send explicit/nude pictures online.
  • If meeting someone in-person that you’ve been talking to online, make sure you are going somewhere public, safe, and inform someone you trust where you are going. Have an exit plan in place in case you want to leave.
  • Use each platform’s privacy settings to reduce the ease a trafficker has to see your information or pictures.

If you think so might be dealing with a stranger online who is trying to recruit you, even if you’re not 100% sure, talk to an adult you trust or contact your local police.

If you have already started seeing someone in-person, and there are red flags  it’s even more important to seek the help of an adult you trust or the police.

Joy Smith Foundation – See The Trafficking Signs
Learn More (

New friend

New friend request, match, follower or message? Stranger danger is online, and the strangers hide in plain sight behind the safety of a screen. Ask yourself: do I really know who I'm talking to right now?


Is your new online friend making you feel better? Compliments, gifts, and romantic gestures is one of the top ways traffickers gain control over you.

Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams was established in 2006 and is a compilation of the province’s most robust and sophisticated law enforcement resources dedicated to combatting serious and organized crime. 

Since the conception of ALERT’s human trafficking unit in 2020, teams based in Calgary and Edmonton investigate domestic human trafficking involving sexual exploitation occurring in Alberta. Together, they work in collaboration with national, provincial and municipal agencies, and non-governmental organizations, involved in rescuing and supporting survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Visit ALERT home page

Human Trafficking – Public Knowledge (ALERT)

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