‘NORTHERN SPOTLIGHT’ CHARGES 25 WITH HUMAN TRAFFICKING OFFENCES
OPP Coordinated Investigations in Ontario
(ORILLIA, ON) – Numerous charges have been laid by police following the fifth installment of a coordinated, national investigation to suppress human trafficking.
As part of Operation Northern Spotlight, members of 36 police services from across Ontario directly engaged with people suspected of partaking in the sex trade, potentially against their will. During coordinated investigations over a six-day period, police charged 25 people with 67 offences. Police were also able to ensure the safety of 16 people who had been working in the sex trade as a minor or against their will. A total of 207 police officers and support staff engaged with 199 people and offered them information and contacts with community-based support agencies.
Charges include Trafficking in Persons under 18, Trafficking in Persons, Procure Sexual Services under 18, Procure Sexual Services, Receive Material Benefit under 18, Receive Material Benefit, Communicate for the Purpose of Obtaining for Consideration the Sexual Services of a Person, Exercise Control, Make Child Pornography, Distribute Child Pornography, Possess Child Pornography, Child Luring, Advertise Another Person’s Sexual Services, Assault, Obstruct Police, Resist Arrest, Weapons Dangerous, various Controlled Drug and Substances Act (CDSA) offences and Failure to Comply with Court Orders and Conditions including Breaches of Recognizance and Probation.
The following Ontario police services participated in this phase of Operation Northern Spotlight: Amherstburg Police Service, Akwesasne Police Service, Barrie Police Service, Brantford Police Service, Brockville Police Service, Chatham-Kent Police Service, Cobourg Police Service, Cornwall Community Police Service, Durham Regional Police Service, Gananoque Police Service, Guelph Police Service, Halton Regional Police Service, Hamilton Police Service, City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service, Kingston Police Service, LaSalle Police Service, London Police Service, Midland Police Service, Niagara Regional Police Service, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Orangeville Police Service, Ottawa Police Service, Peel Regional Police Service, Peterborough Police Service, Port Hope Police Service, Rama Police Service, RCMP, Sarnia Police Service, Six Nations Police Service, St. Thomas Police Service, Stratford Police Service, Greater Sudbury Police Service, Toronto Police Service, Waterloo Regional Police Service, Windsor Police Service, and York Regional Police. Seventeen additional police services and several RCMP municipal detachments across Canada also participated in Operation Northern Spotlight.
“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 Spotlightmodels 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