Ontario Province Police say a national labour-related human trafficking investigation has links to North Bay.
Project Foxtrot began in mid-February when OPP received information of labour trafficking involving foreign nationals from Mexico, who were recruited online and promised work permits for good-paying employment in Canada.
Police say the victims were expected to work at recycling facilities in North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Levis, Quebec and Red Deer, Alberta.
They were housed in several short-term rentals around Canada with payment for accommodations taken from their wages, which police say was less than had been promised.
Search warrants were executed in Simcoe County and the Greater Toronto Area on May 16
“Project Foxtrot demonstrates the exploitation of human trafficking victims in plain sight and the necessity of the Provincial Human Trafficking Intelligence-led Joint Forces Strategy (IJFS) and its partners to help unmask this crime,” says Detective Inspector Jordan Whitesell, OPP IJFS Lead. “It serves as a stark reminder that human trafficking remains a largely clandestine and complex crime that easily goes unnoticed. We must come together to educate ourselves, recognize the signs, empower survivors and provide hope to victims to combat this hidden threat. We cannot fight this alone.”
Four Southern Ontario residents are facing a slew of charges including human trafficking.
Several police agencies were involved in the investigation including Anishinabek Police.
Police say there were three male victims, ranging in age from 27 to 42, and have been provided victim services.