What is Sexual Violence?
Sexual violence can take many different forms and be defined in different ways, but one thing remains the same: it’s never the survivor’s fault.
Defining Sexual Violence
What is Consent?
Myths of Sexual Violence
Bystander Effect
Defining Sexual Violence

Violence is a broad term that describes any act, behaviour or comment that is sexual in nature that happened without consent.

It can include but is not limited to: sexual assault, rape (date rape, marital rape, partner rape, stranger rape), gang rape, ritual abuse, sexual harassment, online/digital sexual harassment, incest, childhood sexual abuse, stalking, sexual exploitation (sex trafficking), unwanted comments or jokes.

What is Consent?

Consent is an enthusiastic, sober, active yes!

Myths of Sexual Violence

Myth #1: Rapes are most likely to occur by a creepy stranger.

Fact #1: Only 10% of rapes are committed by strangers; 90% are known, and usually trusted by the individual.


Myth #2: Girls play “hard to get” and say no when they really mean yes.

Fact #2: If someone does not actually have a yes, proceeding is sexual violence.


Myth #3: If a girl was drunk or wore a short skirt, she deserved it.

Fact #3: It is never, ever the survivor’s fault. No one deserves sexual violence.


Myth #4: People lie about being raped because they regretted having sex afterwards.

Fact #4: Contrary to popular belief and media representation, false allegations are incredibly rare.


Myth #5: Men don’t get raped and women don’t commit sexual offences.

Fact #5: The majority of sexual violence is committed by men against women, girls, boys and trans-identified. While less so, men are still targets of rape. Women have perpetrated sexual violence.


Myth #6: If two people have had sex together before, it is always OK to have sex again.

Fact #6: Nope. Nope. Nope. Consent needs to be active – therefore, in the moment and continual.

Bystander Effect

‘Draw The Line’ is an interactive campaign that aims to engage Ontarians in a dialogue about sexual violence. The campaign challenges common myths about sexual violence and equips bystanders with information on how to intervene safely and effectively.

What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation, harbouring and/ or exercising control, direction or influence over the movements of a person in order to exploit that person, typically through sexual exploitation or forced labour. It is often described as a modern form of slavery.
Defining Human Trafficking
What is Consent?
Risk Factors
Indicators of Trafficking
Myths of Human Trafficking
Defining Human Trafficking

The United Nation’s (UN) convention against transnational organized crime, the Office on Drugs and Crime, defines human trafficking in the Palermo Protocol (2000). Canada is part of the 117 countries that ratified the Palermo Protocol (2000). Canada has adapted it into the Canadian Criminal Code.

Action “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons
Means by any 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
Purpose for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include at a minimum the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

What is Consent?

  • The new age of consent is 16 years old, providing the person involved in the sexual act is within a five years age range.
  • If the person is in a position of power/authority over the individual, consent cannot be obtained.

Commercial Sex Work includes:
Indoor and/or outdoor prostitution, pornography, exotic dancing, phone sex work, web cam, nude modelling, escort services, brothel work, and massage parlor-related prostitution.

The filming, picture, possession, viewing, or uploading to the internet of sexual-content material of individuals under the age of 18 is guilty of an indictable offence.

What is exploitation?
Exploitation is defined by the Criminal Code section 279.04 which requires someone to fear for their safety or the safety of someone they know if they do not perform services requested.

Risk Factors

Society Risk Factors

  • Poverty or economic instability
  • Limited access, barriers to education, jobs, social, and government services
  • Social isolation
  • Marginalized/racialized groups
    • E.g., LGBTQ+, Indigenous communities, and newcomers
  • Involvement in the justice system


Individual Risk Factors

  • Youth
  • Active on social media
  • Low self-esteem
  • Cognitive delays/learning difficulties
  • Physical disabilities
  • ABI (Acquired brain injury)
  • Addictions
  • Mental health illness


Relationship Risk Factors

  • History of child abuse (physical, emotional, and/or sexual)
  • Exposure to violence, addiction, psychosis
  • CAS involvement
  • Family breakdown/instability
  • History of running away

Indicators of Trafficking

Attitude Indicators

  • Becomes withdrawn from family, peer group, and/or after school activities.
  • Exhibits uncharacteristic mood swings
  • Becomes secretive about boy/friends and their whereabouts
  • Responses to questions with rehearsed answers
  • Displays extreme protectiveness of younger siblings
  • Sudden outbursts, confrontational, angry
  • Becomes tense, nervous, and/or anxious


Behaviour Indicators

  • Begins running away/ increased absences from home for longer periods of time
  • Starts hanging out with new group of friends, mostly older, and develops a new persona
  • A sudden change in their appearance including new and expensive clothing and/or jewelry that they cannot usually afford
  • Starts hanging out in hotel rooms with friends
  • Adopts a street name and begins using a lot of “street” terms and slangs in their conversations
  • Makes mention of boyfriend using the name “daddy”
  • May have provocative pictures on social media and dating sites
  • Becomes very secretive when using the Internet
  • Has different taxi numbers saved into their cell phone
  • Visits a clinic to be tested for STIs on a regular basis
  • Has numerous cell phones
  • Has a fake ID and lies about their age
  • Limited memory of events and places they’ve been
  • Trouble sleeping at night due to anxiety and nightmares
  • Boyfriend appears to be very controlling and possessive of their whereabouts
  • Has limited knowledge of the area that they are residing in and speaks of frequent travelling and movement throughout the province
  • May have friends who are affiliated with gangs


Physical Indicators

  • STIs (Sexually transmitted infections)
  • Signs of mental health concerns, such as depression, self-harm, and suicide ideation
  • PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Substance use or increase of substance use/addictions
  • A decrease in one’s interest in their physical appearance/malnourished
  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, scrapes, and cigarette burns
  • Tattoo usually of a boyfriend’s name, often found on their back or neck

Myths of Human Trafficking

Myth #1: If they willingly work in the sex trade, they are not a victim of trafficking.

FACT #1: Some may be manipulated into believing it is their only option.


Myth #2: It only happens to girls.

FACT #2: Although females make up a large percentage of victims, males can be exploited as well. The societal view that males are big and strong and can’t be victims makes it that much harder for males to come forward to report it. Often an exploiter will use psychological threats to control their victims.


Myth #3: They aren’t a victim if it’s their partner or a family member.

FACT #3: Many victims are lured by people they trust and love. Exploiters take advantage of this and may use emotional blackmail to keep their victims from leaving.


Myth #4: You can’t be exploited if you are sexually active.

FACT #4: Placing blame on the victim tells the exploiter they aren’t wrong.


Myth #5: Canada doesn’t have a sex trafficking problem.

FACT #5: 93% of sex trafficking victims are Canadian born (CWF) and of that 25% are under the age of 18. (Stats Canada)


Myth #6: They could leave if they really wanted to.

FACT #6: Often traffickers will use psychological tactics to maintain control over their victims, making them feel like it’s impossible to leave.

Anti-Human Trafficking Project
The main goal of the project is to develop a community response, referral and protocols to assist women and girls who are trafficked for sexual exploitation within York Region. Regional program, therefore our focus is York Region – however we hope that our initiatives will be transferable for other municipalities.
Goals & Objectives
Scope of the Project
Key Deliverables
Goals & Objectives

  • Reduce and prevent human trafficking in York Region
  • Identify and protect trafficked persons
  • Provide counselling and crisis intervention to trafficked persons
  • Coordinate services for trafficked persons
  • Contribute to provincial and national efforts to eliminate human trafficking
  • Increase awareness and understanding about human trafficking in the region

Preventing and Reducing the Trafficking of Women and Girls through Community Planning in York Region:

Scope of the Project

  • Increasing partnerships within the region: Anti Human Trafficking Regional committee of 30 community partners: representing social service providers, law enforcement (YRP), child welfare, health care professionals, youth serving agencies, First Nations community, ethno –specific agencies, business community – meeting on a monthly basis
  • Create guidelines to identify trafficked persons: With regional partners, developing an assessment /screening form for social service providers to assist them in identifying trafficked women; Also conducting in-house trainings for staff and volunteers on human trafficking
  • Creation of a referral system and regional protocols for trafficked persons (Regional Committee)
  • Facilitate cross sector resource sharing – example of this: engaging the business community – specifically, in York Region hotels are a popular location for trafficking
  • Monitor human trafficking in York Region
  • Creation and distribution of outreach and prevention materials across York Region
  • Engage at risk women and girls

Key Deliverables

  • Literature Review
  • Needs Assessment
  • Strategic Outreach plan & materials
  • Human Trafficking Helpline
  • Referral process & protocols for human trafficking in York Region
  • Training for identified service providers
  • Project evaluation