1. definition
  2. examples and/or illustrations
  3. other useful sources
  4. bibliography



  1. The act of employing to the greatest possible advantage;
  2. Utilization of another person or group for selfish purposes;
  3. An advertising or publicity program.

Retrieved from https://ahdictionary.com/word/search.html?q=exploitation&submit.x=60&submit.y=22 on October 15, 2014

“The action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work”

Retrieved from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/exploitation on October 15, 2014

“To take advantage of (a person, situation, etc.) especially unethically or unjustly for one’s own ends”

Retrieved from http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/exploitation on October 15, 2014

Examples and/or Illustrations

According to the Regulatory Impact Statement Protecting Migrant Workers from Exploitation, temporary migrant workers are a very vulnerable group of people who are susceptible to exploitation. Temporary migrants are unable to access social services, and are usually reluctant to seek help from authorities due to their visa conditions. In this analysis, Peter Crabtree states that temporary migrant workers do not receive the same benefits as the citizens in the country in which they reside. Hence, they tend to rely on their employers for support. The employers exploit them by paying less than minimum wage standards, using legal routes i.e. contracts or visa statuses that can limit the worker’s choices, or making them work long hours that are against employment standards. Similarly, in an article written by Naomi Alboim and Karen Cohl, it is stated that temporary workers who are employed in low-skilled jobs “cannot easily change employers because they are only eligible to work for the employer specified on their work permit. There is little proactive enforcement of employment standards, and workers are unlikely to complain for fear of being sent home. Nor are they entitled to federally-funded settlement services or language training…” (2012, p.52)

“Victims of labour exploitation seldom encounter state authorities…victims themselves do not easily come forward…They may prefer the current exploitative situation to the situation they came from, or they may be too scared or ashamed to testify….Illegal migrants, with their weak legal status, often have little to gain when turning to authorities…In many cases, these victims are deported after being identified.” (Smit, 2011, p.187)

In the article, “Child Labour and Exploitation”, it is outlined that ¼ of a million children are involved in exploitative child labour (UNICEF). More than half of these children work in environments that cause hazardous, including mines or factories, and they also work with harmful substances, such as chemicals. An example provided in the article illustrates the exploitation of children in India who work in the glass bangle industry to financially support their families with an income below minimum wage, although they work in conditions that could severely injure them (UNICEF).

A research paper titled, “Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation: Victim Protection in International and Domestic Asylum Law”, describes a case in Los Angeles in which sexual exploitation was evident. Young girls were intimidated and controlled by their traffickers who threatened to harm their loved ones if they tried to escape, used manipulation of “debts, verbal abuse and psychological manipulation to reinforce their control over their victims” (Christensen, 2011, p.2). Hence, victims forced into prostitution do not attempt to escape because they are threatened by their traffickers through punishment by law enforcement or immigration authorities (Christensen, 2011, p.1). Children under the age of 18 are also often engaged in exploitative situations where “young people (or a third person or persons) receive ‘something’ (i.e. food, accommodation, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, affection, gifts, money) as a result of performing, and/or others performing on them, sexual activities” (Pearce, 2013, p.160)

Other Useful Sources

Meyers, C., 2004, “Wrongful Beneficence: Exploitation and Third World Sweatshops,” Journal of Social Philosophy, 35 (3), 319–333

Tamura, Y. (2013). Migrant smuggling when exploitation is private information. Canadian Journal of Economics, 46(4), 1463-1479

Valdman, M., 2008, “Exploitation and Injustice,” Social Theory and Practice, 34 (4), 551–572

Widerquist, K., 2006, “Who Exploits Who?” Political Studies, 54 (3): 444–464.

Case Law

The British Columbia Supreme Court found a man named Reza Moazami guilty on thirty charges including human trafficking on Monday September 15, 2014. He exploited eleven young girls by sexually abusing them, controlling them with drugs, and forcing them into prostitution. This case was the first human trafficking case heard by the B.C. Supreme Court. He told his victims who were as young as fourteen, that they would live a wonderful life in downtown Vancouver. Instead, they were forced into prostitution and generated tens of thousands of dollars that were given to Moazami (CBC News, 2014). He exploited some girls by not compensating them for anything and restricting their freedom of movement, whereas other girls would receive a percentage of their income and have the freedom to step outside the boundaries according to his rules. As he took the stand, he denied the stories presented to the court by his victims but the Supreme Court dismissed his testimonies as false and belligerent. Justice Catherine Bruce stated that the girls were fearful of Moazami, they testified that they were treated “like dogs” as they sold their bodies for his profit (Moore, 2014). He exploited his victims by coercing them into an act in which they did not consent, and using their bodies for his own profit without any regard to their wellbeing and human dignity.

CBC News. (2014). Reza Moazami convicted of human trafficking in teen prostitution case. CBC News: British Columbia. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/reza-moazami-convicted-of-human-trafficking-in-teen-prostitution-case-1.2766731 on December 5, 2014

Moore, D. (2014). B.C. pimp convicted on 30 charges including human trafficking. CTV News Vancouver. Retrieved from http://bc.ctvnews.ca/b-c-pimp-convicted-on-30-charges-including-human-trafficking-1.2007662 on December 5, 2014


Alboim, N., & Cohl, K. (2012). Canada’s Rapidly Changing Immigration Policies. Maytree, 1-85

Child Labour and Exploitation. Basic Education and Gender Equality. Retrieved from http://www.unicef.org/education/index_focus_exploitation.html on October 13, 2014

Christensen, T. M. (2011). Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation: Victim Protection in International and Domestic Law Asylum. UNHCR: Policy Development and Evaluation Service, 1-40

Crabtree, P. (2013). Regulatory Impact Statement: Protecting Migrant Workers from Exploitation. Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 1-13.

Pearce, J. J. (2014). ‘What’s going on’ to safeguard children and young people from child sexual exploitation: A review of local safeguarding children boards’ work to protect children from sexual exploitation. Child Abuse Review, 23(3), 159-170.

Smit, M. (2011). Trafficking in human beings for labour exploitation. The case of the Netherlands. Trends in Organized Crime, 14(2-3), 184-197.

Other Related Terms

Human trafficking

Sexual Exploitation

Labour Exploitation

Child Labour