More than a dozen charges included trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation and assault with a weapon
A 27-year-old man has been charged in a human trafficking investigation in a house on a Toronto street near Yonge and Dundas Square, police said.
Police said a 41-year-old woman was among those arrested in the case at a home at 76 Bay Street. A man and a woman, aged 42 and 53, were also arrested.
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Charges in the case include trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation, two counts of forcible confinement, assault with a weapon, and being unlawfully at large.
Rob Gordon, the chairman of the victims advocacy group, Blight Aid, said there were 17 people in the house, who were being “trafficked in, out and across”. The victims had been targeted via social media, he said.
The woman and two men from Ontario and a teenager from the northern part of the country were taken to a nearby detox facility. Gordon said he was told some of the adults were involved in sex work.
Gordon said he had “met some of the people in the home” and “they all give a different story to me, all of them alleging different things”. He did not have information on the alleged location of where the sex work was taking place.
He said that the women did not appear to be drunk or high and none of them were tied up. The men were “unaware” of the charges he expected to face, he said.
“The best thing they could do now is have some legal representation,” Gordon said.
Mark Pugash, a police spokesman, told the Toronto Star that more than a dozen charges were filed against the men and woman. They are also facing charges of trafficking in persons, the Toronto Free Press reported.
Pugash told the Star a video was found at the home showing the woman performing sex acts on an unknown man and graphic images of people performing sex acts.
The house was raided by police early on Wednesday morning. The Human Rights and Special Investigations Unit was investigating.
A child abuse centre said at least two of the victims “had been battered over the past several weeks”, according to the Star.
Police told the Star officers and forensic teams were at the house for several hours before moving in on the group.