A joint police effort has resulted in numerous charges in a human trafficking investigation, and the rescue of sixteen victims forced to work in the sex trade.
Thirty-six police forces from across Ontario, including Toronto, Halton and Peel, worked on Operation Northern Spotlight, and charged twenty-five suspects with nearly seventy offences.
Charges include making and distributing child pornography, child luring and exercise control.
Names have not been released.
“Canada’s police leaders remain committed to fighting human trafficking through intelligence-gathering, working with our law enforcement and community partners to support victims, and continuing our enforcement efforts. Operation Northern Spotlight models the successes that all police services can achieve when we work together and coordinate our limited resources.” – Deputy Commissioner Rick Barnum, OPP Investigations and Organized Crime.
“Human trafficking victims often represent extremely vulnerable populations. These victims rarely identify themselves to authorities. Therefore, sharing information about and maintaining relationships with community agencies are critical to effectively respond to the crime and to refer victims to appropriate community-based resources, where available, for assistance.” – Detective Superintendent Dave Truax, OPP Criminal Investigation Services