In high schools across Brampton and Mississauga, community-awareness posters warn students of the dangers of human trafficking. “Are you the one being controlled by threat, deception, or force?” reads the poster. “Are you being forced to have sex for money? If yes, then you may be a victim of human trafficking.”

The campaign is part of an effort to curb sex trafficking in the region, which has been on the rise since 2007. Statistics Canada reports that Peel − a region west of Toronto comprising Brampton, Mississauga and the town of Caledon − has a higher rate of trafficking incidents per 100,000 people than any other region in Canada. According to Peel Regional Police, 2017 saw the most human-trafficking charges in the region in a decade. Most victims are women under the age of 24, often recruited directly from high schools.

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