Local man charged with human trafficking

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Chatham-Kent police finished a month-long investigation by arresting a local man yesterday for a slew of charges related to human trafficking.

Last month, police received information regarding domestic abuse and the human trafficking of a local woman by an intimate partner.

Yesterday, a 60-year-old Chatham-Kent man was arrested and charged with multiple criminal offences, including those related to human trafficking:

  • Sexual Assault
  • Assault
  • Assault
  • Human Trafficking
  • Receiving Material Benefit resulting from Trafficking in Persons
  • Derive Material Benefit
  • Exercising Control
  • Procuring
  • Advertise Sexual Services

He has been released pending a future court date of Nov. 24.

“Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation or harbouring of persons for the purposes of exploitation, typically in the sex industry or for forced labour,” Police Chief Gary Conn said in a media release. “The reality is that human trafficking is real and it is here in our community. Human trafficking is a complex and hidden crime. It is also a human rights violation that results in serious and long-term trauma for survivors. Although we can’t provide more information regarding this specific investigation, as the matter is now before the courts, we would like to encourage those who believe they may be a victim of human trafficking or know of someone who is being exploited to please find the strength to come forward. Help and support services are available.”

Warning signs that someone may be being exploited include:

  • Fear for one’s safety or the safety of a loved one
  • Unexplained bruises or other signs of physical abuse
  • Tattoos or branding
  • Lack of life’s necessities (medical care, food, clothing)
  • New expensive clothing, purses, jewelry
  • Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol
  • Changes in behaviour (depression, anxiety)
  • Freedom of movement (seems to be restricted)
  • Cryptic text messages and conversations
  • No passport or identification
  • A new partner and/or friends nobody knows
  • Signs of isolation

For more information about human trafficking, see https://www.ontario.ca/page/human-trafficking or https://www.canadianhumantraffickinghotline.ca/

The Chatham-Kent police would like to remind everyone that support services are available through CK Victim Services https://ckvictimservices.com/

The arrest comes at a time when the Ontario government is reinvesting $2.5 million in cash and proceeds seized from criminals to help fight human trafficking in communities across the province.

Funding through the Civil Remedies Grant Program is being made available to law enforcement agencies and community partners for 33 local projects focused on prevention, crisis counselling, research and public education.

“We are fighting back against human traffickers by investing in training, surveillance technology and equipment to help local police and prosecutors crack down on the criminal networks that prey on and profit from young and vulnerable people in our communities,” said Attorney General Doug Downey in a media release. “These community-based projects will strengthen local capacity to prevent and respond to these heinous crimes while supporting survivors.”

The initiatives being funded under the Civil Remedies Grant Program this year include:

  • Programs supporting victims of human trafficking, including mental health crisis services, specialized care and support and education and training opportunities.
  • Training for frontline officers to help them better detect and investigate human trafficking.
  • IT upgrades to improve investigations of online crimes like child exploitation, harassment, intimate images and fraud.

Investments in surveillance equipment such as automatic licence plate readers to identify and locate vehicles connected to illegal activity across Ontario’s major highways including remote First Nation communities.

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