This training program is dedicated to developing the skills and knowledge of service providers for supporting youth experiencing human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation in Ontario.

About our project

This training has been developed in collaboration by George Brown College, Ryerson University, Covenant House Toronto, and the Ontario Association of Child and Youth Care (OACYC). Our research and training creation occurred primarily in Tkaranto, on the territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishinaabe, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples. We recognize, and encourage participants to keep in mind, how settler-colonial researchers, service providers, the Western academic and social service systems have, and continue to, exploit Indigenous communities, persons, culture, and land, and are complicit in conducting and maintaining the violence of colonialism.

The exploitation of Indigenous people and land are a historic and ongoing purpose of colonialism across Turtle Island. Moreover, due to colonial violence, oppression, dehumanization of Indigenous persons, white supremacy, and patriarchy, Indigenous women, girls, and Two-spirit persons are some of the communities most exposed to sexual exploitation. Throughout this training and our lives going forward, we must continuously commit to dismantling the colonial hierarchy and domination entrenched in our daily interactions, in our work, in our mainstream systems and in our culture as a whole.

Through the course of a 3-year research project, we have pursued the development, application, and evaluation of a framework for:

  1. the early identification of youths involved in human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation (HTSE)
  2. effective support for youths involved in, and at risk of HTSE, through the development and dissemination of training tools for Child and Youth Care Practitioners (CYCP).

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Specialized Training

To enhance the capacity of Child and Youth Care Practitioners to provide effective services responding to the sexual exploitation of youth in rural, urban, and northern communities in Ontario our training includes:


An introduction providing an overview of definitions and misconceptions around human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and sex work.

Stages of Exploitation

Grappling with the stages of exploitation and developing a nuanced understanding of people who exploit others for personal or financial gain.

Youth & factors impacting exposure to exploitation

¬†Understanding the complexities of the factors that impact a youth’s exposure to exploitation, and addressing our biases and the implications that our unexamined bias can have for youth.

Impact & Barriers to Support

Examining how our mainstream systems and structures fail youth, the barriers youth face to accessing support, and the possible impacts of experiencing exploitation.

Prevention & Support

Best practices for responding to exploitation and addressing its root causes, and supporting youth in meaningful, healing-centered, and youth-directed ways.

Service Provider Care

Supporting and centering service provider care and self-care including methods for organizations and providers to address the impacts of compassion fatigue, burnout, and vicarious trauma.


Melissa Teles is a Professor and Researcher with George Brown College.

Yasmine El-Hamamsy is a researcher and content creator with George Brown College.

Jill D’Angelo Scott is a content creator with George Brown College.

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