Human trafficking charges can involve allegations of recruiting, transporting, receiving, holding, concealing, transferring, or harbouring another person. Charges may also be laid on any person who exercise control, direction or influence over the movements of another person for the purpose of exploiting then for a sexual or forced labour reason, or facilitates their exploitation for said reasons.
Human trafficking is a crime that can carry serious consequences. You may also be charged with related offences under the Criminal Code, such as assault and sexual exploitation or prostitution-related crimes—this depends on what happened during your arrest or charging process. The sentence will depend upon these circumstances but if convicted you will face a minimum of 4 years in jail.
The criminal defence lawyers at LZZ have extensive experience successfully defending against complex human trafficking allegations. If you or someone you know has been charged with human trafficking you should contact a criminal lawyer immediately to help determine the best defence. Call us at 416 613 0416 or (416) 595-9500 or contact us online for a free consultation.
Common Questions Regarding Human Trafficking
What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking allegations can involve a wide range of criminal charges under the Criminal Code:
• Trafficking in persons;
• Trafficking of a person under age of 18 (i.e.-minors);
• Receiving a financial or other material benefit for the purpose of committing or facilitating trafficking in persons (this includes pimping);
• Withholding or destroying a person’s identity documents for the purpose of committing or facilitating trafficking of that person (adult victim or child victim) (e.g.- taking someone’s driver’s license, passport, or other ID in order to keep them dependent on you)
These offences are intended to broadly capture many individuals who may be involved in trafficking of persons. For instance, charges can be brought against the drivers who were responsible for driving the men, women, or children to and from their scheduled appointments or work.
Who can be Charged with Human Trafficking?
In the criminal courts, individuals involved in prostitution are typically the ones charged with human trafficking. This is because the ‘pimp’/prostitution relationship is more common than other forms of human trafficking. However, no industry is exempt from using workers against their will. Industries alleged to benefit from forced labor include:
• Domestic work
• Drug Smuggling and distribution
• Fairs and carnivals
• Hospitality (restaurants, hotels)
• Janitorial services
• Massage parlors
• Salon services
• Traveling sales
What is the Penalty for Human Trafficking?
The offence of Trafficking in Persons Over 18 years of age carries a mandatory minimum sentence of four years imprisonment. The offence of Trafficking in Persons Under 18 years of age carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years imprisonment.
I am Charged with Human Trafficking but why am I Facing so Many Charges?
If your charges are human trafficking in the context of prostitution, you will likely be facing several other charges which are known as the ‘prostitution charges.’ These charges include material benefits, procuring, and advertising sexual services. Depending on the allegations, you could also be facing other charges such as kidnapping, forcible confinement, assault, uttering threats, etc.
What is Material Benefits?
Section 279.02(1) of the Criminal Code defines material benefits as “everyone who receives a financial or other material benefit, knowing that it is obtained by or derived directly or indirectly from the commission of an offence under subsection 279.01(1).”
This is an indictable offence and has a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
What is Procuring?
Section 286.3(1) of the Criminal Code defines procuring as “everyone who procures a person to offer or provide sexual services for consideration or, for the purpose of facilitating an offence under subsection 286.1(1), recruits, holds, conceals or harbours a person who offers or provides sexual services for consideration, or exercises control, direction or influence over the movements of that person.”
This is an indictable offence and has a maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment.
What is Advertising Sexual Services?
Section 286.4 of the Criminal Code defines this offence as “everyone who knowingly advertises an offer to provide sexual services.” Although this is broadly defined, section 286.5(2) provides immunity to individuals advertising their own sexual services, so the Criminal Code only prosecutes people posting advertisements for others.
This is a hybrid offence so the Crown can elect summarily or by indictment.
Are the Prostitution Provisions Constitutional?
Currently, the Ontario Court of Appeal has found material benefits, procuring, and advertising sexual services to be Constitutional. The Supreme Court of Canada has yet to rule on the new provisions since the Court found the earlier provisions in R. v. Bedford to be unconstitutional.
In the Ontario Court of Justice in Kitchener, James Lockyer was successful in R. v. Anwar. The Court found the ‘prostitution’ provisions unconstitutional. Mr. Lockyer has a Constitutional challenge in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Toronto where he, along with several other lawyers, represent women who have challenged the provisions as infringing their rights as sex workers.
I Have Been Charged with Human Trafficking, What Should I do?
You should call Lockyer Zaduk Zeeh to speak with an experienced criminal defence lawyer about your case. Our lawyers represent people charged with human trafficking charges in Hamilton, Brantford, Kitchener, Woodstock, and London.