Human trafficking charges

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A local man faces human trafficking charges.

It began on Dec. 7 shortly after 4 a.m. Police say officers responded to a disturbance at a motel in Chatham.

A 33-year-old Chatham man was arrested and charged with domestic and drug related charges.

Through further investigation, police say the victim disclosed that the man had been exploiting her. As a result, on Dec. 24, the man was arrested and charged with multiple charges: human trafficking, receiving material benefit; derive material benefit; exercise control, direction or influence; and advertise section.

He has been remanded into custody pending a future court date of Jan. 15.

“Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation or harbouring of persons for the purposes of exploitation, typically in the sex industry or for forced labour,” 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, police say, 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/

Police would like to remind everyone that support services are available through CK Victim Services 519-436-6630 or https://ckvictimservices.com/

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