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Phase four of Operation Northern Spotlight nets numerous charges

Numerous charges have been laid by police nation wide following the fourth installment of a coordinated, national investigation to suppress human trafficking.
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20150831 Barrie Police Station KA 019
File photo of Barrie Police Station. Kenneth Armstrong/BarrieToday

NEWS RELEASE

BARRIE POLICE SERVICE

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Numerous charges have been laid by police nation wide following the fourth installment of a coordinated, national investigation to suppress human trafficking.

Earlier this month as part of Operation Northern Spotlight, members of 40 police services pre-arranged to meet with people suspected of partaking in the sex trade, potentially against their will, at urban locations across Canada.

During the coordinated investigations over a seven-day period in early October, police charged 47 people with 135 offences.

Police were also able to ensure the safety of 20 people who had been working in the sex trade as a minor or against their will.

Most of those rescued were under the age of 19.

Close to 350 police officers and support staff was involved in Operation Northern Spotlight, interviewing 326 people who were offered information and community-based support agencies.

Charges include Trafficking in Persons, Receiving Financial/Material Benefit, Exercise Control, Living on the Avails, Extortion, Knowingly Advertise or Offer to Provide a Sexual Service, Utter Threats, Forcible Confinement, Assault, Breach, Obstruct, Assault with a Weapon, Sexual Assault with a Weapon, Recruit Person Under 18 Years Old to Provide Sexual Service, Procure Person Under 18 Years Old to Provide Sexual Service, Withhold/Destroy Travel or Identify Document, Possess Child Pornography, Make Child Pornography, Import/Sell/Distribute Child Pornography.

The following Ontario police services participated in this phase of Operation Northern Spotlight: Barrie Police Service, Belleville Police, Brantford Police Service, Cornwall Community Police Service, Durham Regional Police, Greater Sudbury Police, Guelph Police Service, Halton Regional Police, Hamilton Police Service, Kingston Police Service, Lasalle Police, London Police Service, Niagara Regional Police Service, Ontario Provincial Police, Orangeville Police, Ottawa Police, Peel Regional Police Service, Peterborough Police Service, Rama First Nation Police, Stratford Police Service, Strathroy-Caradoc Police, Waterloo Regional Police Service, Windsor Police Service, Woodstock Police Service, York Regional Police Service. In some Ontario municipal police jurisdictions, operations were supported by members of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

Other agencies from across Canada who participated in this extensive investigation include: Calgary Police Service, Cape Breton Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, Ville de Gatineau Quebec, Halifax Regional Police, Lethbridge Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, Saskatoon Police Service, Saint John Police Service, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, Ville du Quebec, Winnipeg Police, Surete du Quebec, and the RCMP. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was also involved in this Project. 

Members of the Barrie Police Investigative Services Division participated in this coordinated national investigation, and within Barrie several persons involved in the sex-trade industry were identified and spoken to by Investigators.

Presently there have been no charges laid by Barrie Police during this fourth installment of this national initiative, although investigations continue to identify, assist and recover person(s) being trafficked in the sex-trade industry.

The Barrie Police will continue investigations to identify and prosecute person(s) criminally involved in the sex-trade.

The Barrie Police Service recognizes that Human Trafficking is a real and present issue, and is committed to combatting Human Trafficking by participating in intelligence-based initiatives such as Operation Northern Spotlight, and working in cooperation with other police agencies to support victims and prosecute offenders.

Anyone with information relating Human Trafficking occurrences is asked to contact Detective Constable Cummings of the Barrie Police Service, Crimes Against Persons Unit at 705-725-7025 ext. 2935., or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477),or online at www.tipsubmit.com

Human Trafficking is defined as; every person who recruits, transports, transfers, receives, holds, conceals or harbours a person, or exercises control, direction or influence over the movements of a person, for the purpose of exploiting them or facilitating their exploitation, for a sexual purpose or a forced labour purpose.

Victims can be men, women or children; can be Canadian citizens; and can be moved across local, provincial or national borders.

They can be coerced through violence or the threat of violence against family and friends.

Human Trafficking is a local, provincial and national problem that affects the most vulnerable in society.

Operation Northern Spotlight demonstrates the need to work together with other Police Services and community partners to effectively investigate these complex, and often multi-jurisdictional crimes.

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