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District School Board of Niagara
Policy School Operations

G-09 Anti-Sex Trafficking: Keeping Students Safe

Date Nov 2021
Review Nov 2026


The District School Board of Niagara (DSBN) recognizes that ensuring schools are safe – both physically and mentally – is critical for student achievement and well-being. The DSBN recognizes the urgent need to safeguard the safety, mental health, and well-being of school-aged children and youth, in collaboration with other sectors and community partners.

This policy aims to protect students and empower school communities to play a key role in fighting sex trafficking and keeping children and youth safe from sexual exploitation. The policy framework outlined in PPM 166, issued July 6, 2021, sets clear provincial standards for school boards to establish and follow a protocol for preventing, identifying, and recognizing sex trafficking and developing responses to facilitate early and appropriate intervention.


Human Trafficking: Section 279.01 (1) of the Criminal Code of Canada defines “trafficking in persons” or human trafficking as the act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, receiving, holding, concealing or harbouring a person, or exercising control, direction or influence over the movement of a person, for the purpose of exploiting them or facilitating their exploitation.

Sexual Exploitation: Section 153 (1) of the Criminal Code of Canada defines “sexual exploitation” as an offence in which a person in a position of trust or authority towards a young person, who is a person with whom the young person is in a relationship of dependency or who is in a relationship with a young person that is exploitative of the young person, and who

  1. for a sexual purpose, touches, directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, any part of the body of the young person; or
  2. for a sexual purpose, invites, counsels or incites a young person to touch, directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, the body of any person, including the body of the person who so invites, counsels or incites and the body of the young person.

Sex Trafficking: Sex trafficking is a form of sexual exploitation and is a crime under the Criminal Code of Canada. It can include recruiting, harbouring, transporting, obtaining or providing a person for the purpose of sex. It involves the use of force, physical or psychological coercion or deception. Most individuals who are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation are women and girls, but all people may be targeted.


It is the policy direction of the Ministry of Education that the DSBN’s anti-sex trafficking protocol clearly articulates roles, responsibilities, and accountability measures. It also addresses threats associated with digital technology and the internet. The core and essential elements of the protocol are:

  1. Statement of principles   
    The protocol includes the Statement of Principles outlined in PPM 166.
  2. Strategies to raise awareness and prevent sex trafficking   
    The protocol includes culturally safe strategies to raise awareness about sex trafficking with students, staff, parents and caregivers, and the broader school community. This includes processes to:
    • make the protocol and related procedures and resources publicly available on the DSBN website,
    • raise awareness among parents and caregivers about internet safety, the signs that a student is being targeted, lured, groomed, trafficked or is trafficking another student and how to get help safely, how concerns may be reported to the DSBN and the DSBN’s process for responding to concerns, and approaches to overcome barriers to participation that some individuals may face,
    • raise awareness among students on the signs that a student is being targeted, lured, groomed, trafficked or is trafficking another student, and how to bring concerns to the school without fear of reprisal,
    • help prevent recruitment of students for sex trafficking, including through curriculum-based learning about healthy relationships, consent, mental health and well-being, coping skills, personal safety and online safety, as well as through work with local community-based organizations and survivors, and
    • use existing technology and tools to identify and deter potential situations involving students who could be at risk of sex trafficking and other online threats, while using school board-provided technology.
  3. Response procedures
    The protocol establishes procedures for staff to respond in situations where a student may be at risk of or is being sex trafficked, may be targeting, luring, grooming or recruiting others for the purpose of sex trafficking, or is returning to school after they have been trafficked or involved in trafficking others.
  4. Training for school board employees 
    The protocol outlines a process for providing training for staff, including teachers, administrators, and other school staff. The training is tracked and available on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Training is updated and delivered regularly to stay current with emerging issues relating to trafficking and changes in community services and response.
  5. Measuring success: accountability and evaluation 
    The protocol will be reviewed as part of the DSBN’s policy review cycle. Community anti-human trafficking partners and local agencies will be invited to participate in the reporting process to the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the DSBN, to determine how the protocol helps children and youth stay out of, or exit, human trafficking. This will be measured carefully with performance indicators on how the protocol prevents trafficking in the Niagara Region.


The DSBN’s anti-sex trafficking protocol is developed in collaboration and partnerships with persons with lived experience of trafficking as well as Indigenous organizations, Family and Children’s Services Niagara, Victim Services Niagara, Niagara Regional Police, the Kristen French Child Advocacy Centre, Niagara Sexual Assault Centre, and other community-based service providers. This regional protocol also involves the Niagara Catholic District School Board, in order to facilitate information-sharing and a coordinated approach