NS Trafficking Elimination Partnership (NSTEP)

YWCA Halifax is engaging with provincial partners to lead an inter-jurisdictional coalition to prevent and eliminate the trafficking and sexual exploitation of primarily young women in Nova Scotia.

NSTEP will:

  • Address the needs related to the prevention of sex-trafficking, appropriate intervention, and aftercare.
  • Enable key stakeholders to collaborate and meet the long-term goal of prevention and effective intervention by increasing capacity to address service needs and prevent and respond to sex trafficking.
  • Work to build understanding, identify gaps in services, develop a coordinated system of response and mobilize to fill gaps in services, to establish sustainable program approaches for mental health services, advocacy and awareness, and policy development.

Nova Scotia Trafficking Elimination Partnership Common Definition of Sexualized Human Trafficking and Exploitation

  1. Sexualized human trafficking is a form of slavery and a human rights-based issue which perpetuates violence against women and girls and predominantly affects those with heightened vulnerability
  2. Sexualized human trafficking is enabled by existing systems of misogyny, colonialism, and capitalism. As a result, some people are more vulnerable to sexualized human trafficking as a result of a number of factors, including gender, race, class, Indigeneity, and experience within the child welfare system.
  3. As per the criminal code of Canada, no person under the age of 18 can consent to participation in transactional sex; all youth under the age of 18 who are engaging in transactional sex can be considered exploited and/or trafficked
  4. A person who has been exploited at any point in their lives may not identify as being a trafficked person, and we do not need them to for the provision of services
  5. Sexualized human trafficking and sex work are different and should not be conflated as the same issue
  6. The concept of choice* in the realm of sexual exploitation and trafficking is not binary; choice to participate in the sex trade** occurs along a spectrum which is related to multiple factors of oppression and trauma.
  7. Any given individual may demonstrate one, or many, forms of choice throughout their experience. For example, an individual may begin from a position of perceived choice, but move into a position of coerced choice if they decide to exit, but are prevented from doing so by their pimp due to threat of violence towards the individual’s family, or being required to pay exorbitant exit fees.

*The NSTEP partners do not have consensus on the concept of choice within the sex industry. The NSTEP partners do, however, have agreement with respect to the continuum of trafficking and exploitation as involving third party control and exploitation.

** The NSTEP partners do not have consensus with respect to prostitution and sex work as an industry. The NSTEP partners do, however, have agreement with respect to trafficking and exploitation as the primary concern of the NSTEP endeavour.