Ottawa police charge two girls, 15, with human trafficking
Police allege the teens lured young girls to a residence where they were threatened, assaulted, and transported to other locations where they were forced to engage in acts of prostitution.
The arrests were made on June 8 and June 9 by the Sexual Assault/Child Abuse Section of the Ottawa Police Service. Police are seeking a third suspect; a 17-year-old girl who is believed to be in Montreal.
According to the Ottawa Police Service
both girls, whose names cannot be released under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, face charges of human trafficking, robbery, procuring, forcible confinement, sexual assault, assault, uttering threats and abduction.
One of the girls also faces a charge of administering a noxious substance.
Police allege on three separate occasions, victims between the ages of 13 and 17 were lured to an address on Walkley Road in Ottawa under the guise of going to a party. Once there, the victims were assaulted and threatened and then taken to other locations where they were forced to have sex with men.
Police are described as being shocked by the allegations. Staff Sgt. John McGetrick was quoted by the Ottawa Citizen
as saying, "It's shocking quite frankly. We asked the RCMP, who take the lead on human trafficking, and they didn't know of a similar case in Canada."
McGetrick told CTV News
, "When you think if human trafficking and stereotypes that go with it, right or wrong, you don't think of three young offender girls."
Police have found no evidence that any adult men or pimps were involved in the human trafficking and related crimes.
Neighbours of the Walkley Road housing complex, where gang-related activities are not unknown, were also shocked. Resident Natasha Albert was quoted in the Ottawa Citizen
as saying, "This is insane. I cannot believe that such young girls would be the ones responsible for something like this."
The investigation is continuing and police may release more details in the future. They believe there may be more victims and are working on laying charges against the johns for engaging in underage sex.
The arrests come just days after Canada's Public Safety Minister Vic Toews announced
the creation of a new task force to combat human trafficking.