York Regional Police have dismantled a human trafficking ring, with the arrest of 31 people who face a total of more than 300 charges in a multi-provincial investigation.
The investigation started a year ago when two alleged female victims contacted police after attempting to escape from a suspected pimp. From there, a number of suspects believed to be involved in a human trafficking ring run by organized crime were identified.
On October 10 of this year, arrest and search warrants were executed in more than 30 locations across the Greater Toronto Area and Quebec. Investigators identified 12 victims and determined more than 30 women who were involved in the sex trade were linked to the suspects. The majority of the women came from Quebec but had been moved to Ontario and across Canada for the sex trade industry.
Police allege the victims endured torture, sexual assaults, violent assaults and other degrading circumstances.
“York Regional Police will continue to offer assistance and support victims of violent human trafficking,” said Chief Eric Jolliffe. “I commend the officers involved in this investigation for their diligent work in dismantling this organized crime ring.”
The investigation also involved a number of other police agencies including the Ontario Provincial Police, Peel Regional Police, Toronto Police and the Quebec Integrated Human Trafficking Task Force.