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OPP arrest 15 people in human trafficking sting

York Regional Police was one of the 45 police services involved in Operation Northern Spotlight, which had more than 300 officers, support staff and victim services professionals engaging with 218 potential victims across the country.
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A major human trafficking investigation has led to 45 charges laid against 15 people.

York Regional Police was one of the 45 police services involved in Operation Northern Spotlight, which had more than 300 officers, support staff and victim services professionals engaging with 218 potential victims across the country.

Seven victims were also brought to safety by police in Peel, Waterloo, Niagara and Ottawa. Two were under the age of 18.

"Victims of exploitation and human trafficking continue to include our neighbours, our friends and our children. The goal of Operation Northern Spotlight is to assist those who are exploited. Human trafficking is real in Ontario," OPP Insp. Tina Chalk, of the Counter Exploitation and Missing Persons Section, said.

The accused are facing charges including forcible confinement, trafficking in persons and assault causing bodily harm.

No names have been released.

During the investigation, police met with individuals suspected of being in exploitative situations. They are provided contacts and information for community-based support agencies and are offered both immediate and future police assistance to leave the exploitation.

"The OPP takes the safety and security of all people very seriously ... we will continue to investigate and hold those responsible for these crimes." Staff Sgt. Coyer Yateman with the OPP's Anti-Human Trafficking Investigations Coordination Team, said.

"We will continue to refer victims to appropriate community based resources where available for assistance." he added.

The sting was part of a national operation in partnership with the RCMP.




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