Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32451
Comparative Canadian Online News Coverage Analysis of Sex Trafficking Reported Cases in Ontario and Nova Scotia

Authors: Alisha Fisher


Sex trafficking is a worldwide crisis that requires trauma-informed and survivor-centered media attention to accurate disseminate information. Much of the previous literature of sex trafficking tends to focus on frequency of incidents, intervention, and support strategies for survivors, with few of them looking to how the media is conducting their reporting on sex trafficking cases to the public. Utilizing data of reports from the media of cases of sex trafficking in the two Canadian provinces with the highest cases of sex trafficking, Ontario and Nova Scotia, we sought to analyze the similarities and differences of how sex trafficking cases were being reported. A total of 20 articles were examined, with 10 based within the province of Ontario and the remaining 10 from the province of Nova Scotia. We coded in two processes, first, who the article was about, and second, the framing and content inclusion. The results suggest that there is high usage, and reliance of voices and images of authority, with male people of color being shown as the perpetrators, and white women being shown as the survivors. These findings can aid in the expansion of trauma-informed, survivor-centered media literacy of reports of sex trafficking to provide accurate insights, and further developing robust methods to intersectional approaches to reporting cases of sex trafficking.

Keywords: Sex Trafficking, media coverage, canada sex trafficking, content analysis.

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 367


[1] UNODC, (2020). Global report on trafficking in persons. United Nations publication, Sales No. E.20.IV.3.
[2] Public Safety Canada. (2021, February 15). Sex Trafficking.
[3] Project iRise. (2020). Human trafficking. Human Trafficking.
[4] Cotter, A. (2020, June 23). Trafficking in persons in Canada, 2018. Statistics Canada.
[5] Luck, S. (2019, June 5). Advocates studying human trafficking 'corridor' between N.S., other provinces. CBCnews.
[6] Schwark, S., & Bohner, G. (2019). Sexual violence—“victim” or “survivor”: news images affect explicit and implicit judgments of blame. Violence against Women, 25(12), 1491–1509.
[7] Hammond, G. C., & McGlone, M. (2014). Entry, progression, exit, and service provision for survivors of sex trafficking: implications for effective interventions. Global Social Welfare: Research, Policy, & Practice, 1(4), 157–168.
[8] Oram, S., Stöckl, H., Busza J., Howard, L., & Zimmerman. C. (2012). Prevalence and risk of violence and the physical, mental, and sexual health problems associated with human trafficking: Systematic review. Plos Medicine, 9(5).
[9] Weitzer, R. (2007). The social construction of sex trafficking: ideology and institutionalization of a moral crusade. Politics & Society, 35(3), 447–475.
[10] Twigg, N. M. (2017). Comprehensive Care Model for Sex Trafficking Survivors. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 49(3), 259–266.
[11] Baird, K., McDonald, K. P., & Connolly, J. (2020). Sex trafficking of women and girls in a southern Ontario region: Police file review exploring victim characteristics, trafficking experiences, and the intersection with child welfare. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science / Revue Canadienne Des Sciences Du Comportement, 52(1), 8–17.
[12] Leavy, P. (2007). The feminist practice of content analysis. In Feminist research practice (pp. 222-248). SAGE Publications, Inc.,
[13] Reinharz, S.(1992). Feminist methods in social research. New York: Oxford University Press.
[14] Noble, A., Coplan, I., Neal, J., Suleiman, A., & McIntyre, S. (2020). Getting out: A national framework for exiting human trafficking for sexual exploitation in Canada. Toronto, ON: Covenant House Toronto & The Hindsight Group