The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service was one of numerous agencies across the province that took part in Operation Northern Spotlight, a seven-day operation targeting human trafficking.
Police services throughout Ontario were able to ensure the safety of seven people who were in exploitative situations, including two under the age of 18, as a result of the national effort in partnership with the RCMP.
Forty-five police services across the province participated in the operation, including those in Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins, North Bay, and Sudbury.
Of the seven victims identified:
• Two were recovered by Peel Regional Police Service
• One was recovered by Waterloo Regional Police Service
• Three were recovered by Ottawa Police Service
• One was recovered by Niagara Regional Police Service
As a result, 15 people face 45 charges, including forcible confinement, trafficking in persons, material benefit from sexual services, assault causing bodily harm, failing to report contrary to Christopher's Law (sex offender registry), and numerous others.
A total of 317 police officers, support staff and victim services professionals engaged with 218 potential victims during the operation.