Ontario Police Conduct Human Trafficking Outreach

Human Trafficking is a serious issue world-wide
Human Trafficking is a serious issue world-wide

OPP Impaired Driving Graphic

OPERATION NORTHERN SPOTLIGHT –OPP Coordinated Investigations in Ontario

ORILLIA  – Members of police services throughout Ontario were able to ensure the safety of seven people who were in exploitative situations, including two under the age of 18 as a result of Operation Northern Spotlight, a coordinated, national effort to end human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is a deplorable crime that threatens the safety, livelihood and dignity of those who are being exploited and abused. This is a complex issue that affects some of the most vulnerable people in our society and does not recognize jurisdictional boundaries. It is our duty to recognize and protect these people from exploitation and it is imperative that we have a concentrated effort among all our partners to be effective,” states Deputy Commissioner Rick BARNUM, OPP Investigations and Organized Crime.

“Victims of exploitation and human trafficking continue to include our neighbours, our friends and our children. The goal of Operation Northern Spotlight is to assist those who are exploited. Human trafficking is real in Ontario,” adds Inspector Tina CHALK, Counter Exploitation and Missing Persons Section, Ontario Provincial Police.

“More than 300 police officers, support staff and victim services professionals participated in Operation Northern Spotlight across Ontario. These operations provided outreach to many people, and resulted in the identification of seven victims. As part of Ontario’s Strategy to End Human Trafficking, we will continue to investigate this serious crime to help free victims from a cycle of violence and abuse,” says Detective Staff Sergeant Coyer YATEMAN, Anti-Human Trafficking Investigations Coordination Team, Ontario Provincial Police.

Forty-Five Charges Laid Against 15 Individuals

Over a seven-day period, 45 police services across Ontario participated in the operation. Forty-five charges were laid against 15 people. A total of 317 police officers, support staff and victim services professionals engaged with 218 potential victims, as part of a joint effort coordinated by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). This was part of a national operation in partnership with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Collaboration among police services is extremely important due to the multi-jurisdictional nature of human trafficking.

Of the seven victims identified:

  • Two were recovered by Peel Regional Police Service
  • One was recovered by Waterloo Regional Police Service
  • Three were recovered by Ottawa Police Service
  • One was recovered by Niagara Regional Police Service

During Operation Northern Spotlight, police meet with individuals suspected of being in exploitative situations. They are provided with contacts and information for community-based support agencies and are offered both immediate and future police assistance to leave the exploitation. The program is not intended to engage those who are not being exploited.

Charges include: Obtaining Sexual Services for Consideration, Failure to Comply with Condition of Undertaking or Recognizance, Forcible Confinement, Trafficking in Persons, Material Benefit – Trafficking, Material Benefit from Sexual Services, Procuring, Assault with a Weapon, Aggravated Assault, Assault Causing Bodily Harm, Assault, Pointing a Firearm, Possession of a Weapon for Dangerous Purpose, Criminal Harassment, Uttering Threats, Failing to report contrary to Christopher’s Law (Sex offender Registry), Fail to Comply with SOIRA Order, Identity Fraud, Obstruct a Public Officer or Peace Officer, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime, Youth Criminal Justice Act: 137 – Fail to Comply with Sentence or Disposition.

The following Ontario police services participated in this year’s Operation Northern Spotlight:

  • Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service
  • Barrie Police Service
  • Belleville Police Service
  • Brantford Police Service
  • Brockville Police Service
  • Chatham-Kent Police Service
  • Cobourg Police Service
  • Cornwall Community Police Service
  • Dryden Police Service
  • Durham Regional Police Service
  • Greater Sudbury Police Service
  • Guelph Police Service
  • Halton Regional Police Service
  • Hamilton Police Service
  • City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service
  • Kingston Police
  • Lac Seul Police Service
  • LaSalle Police Service
  • London Police Service
  • Niagara Regional Police Service
  • North Bay Police Service
  • Ontario Provincial Police
  • Orangeville Police Service
  • Ottawa Police Service
  • Owen Sound Police Service
  • Peel Regional Police
  • Peterborough Police Service
  • Port Hope Police Service
  • Rama Police Service
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police
  • Sarnia Police Service
  • Saugeen Shores Police Service
  • Sault Ste. Marie Police Service
  • Smiths Falls Police Service
  • South Simcoe Police Service
  • Stratford Police Service
  • Thunder Bay Police Service
  • Timmins Police Service
  • Toronto Police Service
  • United Chiefs and Council of Mnidoo Mnising Anishaabe Police Service
  • Waterloo Regional Police Service
  • West Grey Police Service
  • Windsor Police Service
  • Woodstock Police Service
  • York Regional Police
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