West Grey Police participate in Province wide Operation Northern Spotlight
FROM: West Grey Police Service / OPP Investigation and Support Bureau DATE: October 24, 2018
POLICE IN ONTARIO CONDUCT HUMAN TRAFFICKING OUTREACH THROUGH OPERATION NORTHERN SPOTLIGHT
Members of the West Grey Police service joined with police services across Ontario in efforts to fight human trafficking dubbing the seven-day long project “Operation Northern Spotlight.” Police 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.
45 police services across Ontario participated in the operation with a total of 45 charges 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 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.
“We think of human trafficking as an issue that is far away from where we live but in reality it affects all of our communities. We will continue to investigate and charge those who are responsible for these horrendous crimes against people and are committed to providing assistance to those who are and have been exploited.”
-Chief Robert Martin, West Grey Police
“Vulnerable persons are being target across the province and police are here to put a stop to it. These people are being sexually exploited and are victims who need to be given resources so that they feel safe enough to come forward and exit the abuse they often endure. When forty-five police services come together, it is a real statement of the societal impact human trafficking has and it is a promise to our victims that we will always be there for them.”
-Detective Constable Kenneth Iles, West Grey Police
“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 amongst all our partners to be effective.”
– Deputy Commissioner Rick BARNUM, OPP Investigations and Organized Crime
Cst. Cory Trainor
Media Relations Officer
West Grey Police Service