A 20-year-old Sarnia woman is facing charges in connection to a months-long human trafficking investigation that led to multiple arrests this week, police say.
“In January 2023, Essex County OPP Crime Unit began an investigation from information that contained details of human trafficking,” Essex County OPP stated, Wednesday. “Throughout the course of the investigation, several suspects were identified.”
Six individuals have been arrested — a 20-year-old Sarnia woman; a 34-year-old from Windsor; and four Leamington residents, ages 24, 25, 27, and 40.
All face a number of charges linked to human trafficking, including: trafficking in persons; material benefit resulting from trafficking in persons; material benefit from sexual services (living off the avails); and procuring.
According to Public Safety Canada, ‘trafficking in persons’ involves the recruitment, transportation, harbouring and/or exercising control, direction or influence over the movements of a person in order to exploit that person, typically through sexual exploitation or forced labour.
“Human trafficking is not confined to ‘big cities.’ It can happen anywhere,” police added in a statement. “The OPP is committed to fighting human trafficking through intelligence-gathering and working cooperatively with our law enforcement and community partners to support victims and refer them to appropriate community-based social services or support agencies for assistance.”
For more information, including how to prevent and identify incidents of human trafficking, and find support for victims, contact the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Centre Sarnia-Lambton at 519-337-3154 or visit http://www.sexualassaultsarnia.ca/.