Fact Sheet #6: Trafficking in Persons - Pre-trial Detention/Release

At an early stage of a human trafficking investigation/prosecution, police officers can play an important role in supporting applications for pre-trial detention, when justified, investigating possible sureties and associates, or engaging in proactive monitoring of an accused to ensure that they are complying with their conditions. This can be a vulnerable time for trafficked victims, especially if accused are released and do not abide by their conditions, such as “no contact” conditions. Moreover, the victims’ perception of their safety can be important to maintaining their cooperation in the prosecution of TIP offences.

Pre-trial Detention/Release

Grounds for Detention

All three grounds of detention in subsection 515(10) are potentially applicable bases for seeking the detention of an accused charged with trafficking in persons offences. The following considerations are particularly germane to TIP cases:


While the trafficking in persons offences do not per se trigger a reverse onus on a bail hearing, even where a firearm is involved, there may be features of a case that do trigger the reverse onus (e.g., the accused is charged with a criminal organization offence under sections 467.11, 467.12, or 467.13, or where it is alleged that the human trafficking offence was committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a criminal organization, see sub-paragraph 515(6)(a)(ii)).

Preparation for the Bail Hearing

Good preparation for the bail hearing can help secure the pre-trial detention of the accused in appropriate cases. Therefore it may be helpful for the prosecutor to seek an adjournment pursuant to subsection 516(1) of the Criminal Code, either prior to the commencement of the hearing or once it is underway and the need for further investigation becomes apparent. If the prosecutor does obtain an adjournment, the prosecutor should generally request a non-communication order for that period of remand, pursuant to subsection 516(2).

When preparing for a bail hearing, below are some considerations to keep in mind:

Non-Communication Order upon Detention

Where the accused is ordered detained, the prosecutor should generally seek a direction, pursuant to subsection 515(12), that the accused abstain from communicating, directly or indirectly, with any victim, witness or other identified person.

Conditions of Release

Mandatory Conditions or Considerations

Where an accused is charged with “an offence in the commission of which violence against a person was used, threatened or attempted” (which would likely include the majority of charges for trafficking in persons under sections 279.01 and 279.011), the Criminal Code requires the inclusion or consideration of certain conditions in any release order:

Optional Conditions

In most cases, the prosecutor should consider asking for conditions that the accused:

Publication Bans during Bail Proceedings

Section 517 of the Criminal Code enables a prosecutor to apply for a publication ban covering the bail proceedings in order to ensure the proper administration of justice.

For more information on TIP, please consult Chapter 4.5 of the Handbook for Criminal Justice Practitioners on Trafficking in Persons.