Regional Police and RCMP participate in national human trafficking enforcement initiative

Canadian Police Focus on Young Women Coerced into Sex Trade

For Immediate Release:  January 28, 2014

Waterloo Region, Ontario –  On January 22 and 23, 2014, members of the Waterloo Regional Police Service in partnership with  the Kitchener detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police participated in a national enforcement initiative driven by growing concerns that young women are being forced to participate in the sex trade.

Operation Northern Spotlight was a cooperative effort involving 26 police services in over 30 communities across Canada.  More than 330 women, some as young as 15 years, were interviewed.  Police found some were being forced to perform sexual acts multiple times a day for paying customers.

Although the Criminal Code section refers to this activity as Human Trafficking, investigators increasingly view this crime as “sex slavery”. Several teens and young women have been identified as being forced to perform sexual acts through threats of violence, physical intimidation, drug dependency and other forms of coercion. Part or all of the proceeds from the sexual encounters are kept by their adult male controller or pimp.

As part of the local investigation, police located an 18 year old female victim from Toronto who was allegedly exploited and forced to work as an escort in Waterloo Region.  Two males from Toronto were subsequently arrested in Kitchener.  Shakib GHARIBZADA, 24 years, of Toronto and Masood HEJRAN, 25 years of Newmarket were charged with Human Trafficking,  Receiving Material Benefit and Procuring.  Additional charges include Sexual Assault, using an Imitation Firearm and Breach of Probation.  

“Human Traffickers victimize one of the most vulnerable sectors of our communities, our young people," said Inspector Todd Gilmore, Detachment Commander of the Kitchener RCMP. "Trafficking young people for a profit and the sexual gratification of others is a heinous crime and the RCMP has and will continue to aggressively investigate criminals involved in this illicit activity and bring them before the courts and the full weight of law."   

“The Waterloo Regional Police Service has dedicated full time investigative resources to work in partnership with local agencies to help free women and children from the cycle of sexual exploitation, abuse and violence,” said Inspector Dave Bishop, Strategic and Tactical Services. “Human trafficking and its associated criminal activities threaten the quality of life of our residents and create a growing safety concern for our Service and our community.”

Police Services will continue to monitor any incidents of “forced participation” in hopes of assisting any woman involved in the sex trade business against her will.
 
Anyone having information about a person being coerced into the sex trade is asked to contact Waterloo Regional Police Service (519) 653-7700, the Kitchener Detachment of the RCMP at (519) 896-3542 or Crime Stoppers 1 800 222 8477.  

Additional Resources available to local residents include Victim Services of Waterloo Region (519) 595-2363; and Walk with Me Canada Victim Services   Phone: 1-866-528-7109

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Media Contacts:
Olaf Heinzel, Public Affairs Coordinator
(519) 650-8500 ext. 8773 | olaf.heinzel@wrps.on.ca

Cpl. Judith Falbo
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Kitchener Detachment - Serious and Organized Crime
(519) 896-3542 ext. 481 | Judith.Falbo@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

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