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Human trafficking targeted by coordinated police effort

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Members of police services throughout Ontario, including the OPP and North Bay Police Service, have ensured the safety of six people who had been working in the sex trade and were in exploitive situations, including two under the age of 16.

Twelve people have been charged with 21 offences as a result of Operation Northern Spotlight, a coordinated, national effort to end human trafficking.

Police say they meet with individuals suspected of being in exploitive situations and provide contacts and information for community-based support agencies. They are offered both immediate and future police assistance to leave the exploitive situation. Operation Northern Spotlight is not intended to engage those who are not being exploited.

Over a one week period, 46 police services across Ontario took part in the initiative. A total of 331 police officers, support staff and victim services workers engaged 198 people, as part of the joint effort coordinated by the Ontario Provincial Police. Operation Northern Spotlight was part of an international operation led by the FBI and RCMP involving police services from Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia and the United Kingdom.

Charges laid include: Advertise Another Person’s Sexual Services, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime, Receive Material Benefit from Sexual Services, Keeping a Common Bawdy House, Procuring Material Benefit, Trafficking in Persons, Prohibited Weapon, Procuring a Person Under 18 Years of Age and Receive a Material Benefit Under 18 Years of Age.

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