THUNDER BAY – The Thunder Bay Police Service participated in the third instalment of a coordinated, national investigation to suppress human trafficking.
The TBPS, in a media statement report, “The Criminal Investigations Branch made contact with 7 sex trade workers in an effort to offer support and gain information regarding their high risk lifestyle. Contact with these women was made through social media, where their services were advertised. 4 women met face to face with our officers and a special support team. 2 of the women were local, while 2 were from out of town. They ranged from 20’s to 40’s in age”.
The support team included local social service agencies. This was not an enforcement effort to target women involved in the sex trade. It can be best described as a coordinated effort to offer support and protection to women who all too often, are victims of exploitation.
Investigators and support team members will continue to develop action plans to continue this effort. Information is being gathered to assist police in investigating potential exploitation of women at risk. No arrests were made in Thunder Bay during this operation.
Our community partners include Faye Peterson, Beendigen, VICARS, and the Salvation Army.
Operation Northern Spotlight Background:
(Toronto) On Wednesday, June 17, 2015, and Thursday, June 18, 2015, as part of Operation Northern Spotlight, members of the Toronto Police Service and 20 other police services pre-arranged to meet with people suspected of partaking in the sex trade, potentially against their will, at urban locations across Ontario.
During the coordinated investigations over the two-day period, police charged two people with 41 offences. Police were also able to ensure the safety of six females, who had been working in the sex trade as a minor or against their will, including one 14-year-old, three 15-year-olds, a 16-year-old and a 19-year-old.
Ninety officers and support staff combined to interview 122 people, including 110 women and offered them information and contacts with community-based support agencies.
Charges have been laid by police following this third installment of a coordinated, provincial investigation to suppress human trafficking, they include:
1. Trafficking in Persons under 18 years
2. Trafficking in Persons
3. Financial / Material Benefit from Trafficking in Person under 18 years
4. Material Benefit from Sexual Services provided by Person under 18 years
5. Procuring / Recruit Person under 18 to provide Sexual Services
6. Procuring / Person under 18 years
7. Advertising another person’s Sexual Services
8. Administer Noxious Substance
9. Sexual Assault
10. Sexual Interference with a Person under 16 years of age
11. Invitation to Sexual Touching under 16 years of age
12. Print / Publish / Possess to publish Child Pornography
13. Import / Sell / Distribute Child Pornography
14. Unlawfully Possess Child Pornography
During the initiative, Durham Regional Police Service conducted an intelligence probe with a 14-year-old girl in their jurisdiction for a possible intervention. Officers spoke with the girl, and she disclosed that she was allegedly being forced into the sex trade by a man. Further investigation identified the man as Levi Alexander, 19, of Toronto. Alexander is currently wanted on a Canada Wide Warrant for Human Trafficking charges by the Toronto Police Service in relation to the last Human Trafficking investigation – Project Guardian, where he allegedly forced a 16-year-old girl into the sex trade. Police are concerned that this man will continue to victimize young girls and are appealing to the public for their assistance in apprehending him.
The following police services participated in this phase of Operation Northern Spotlight:
• Barrie Police Service
• Brantford Police Service
• Durham Region Police Service
• Greater Sudbury Police Service
• Guelph Police Service
• Halton Regional Police Service
• Hamilton Police Service
• North Bay Police Service
• Ontario Provincial Police
• Ottawa Police Service
• Peel Regional Police
• Royal Canadian Mounted Police
• Sarnia Police Services
• Saugeen Shores Police Service
• Stratford Police Service
• Thunder Bay Police Service
• Toronto Police Service
• Treaty Three Police Service
• Waterloo Regional Police Service
• Windsor Police Service
• Woodstock Police Service