Human trafficking victims rescued in operation led by Mississauga and Brampton police

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Published May 10, 2023 at 1:17 pm

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Update: The Peel Regional Police news conference scheduled for Thursday morning (May 11) has been postponed. Police say a new time and date will be announced in the next few days.

Details of a sweeping human trafficking investigation in which police rescued several victims from their alleged captors will be revealed tomorrow morning (May 11) at Peel Regional Police headquarters in Mississauga.

Numerous charges have been laid and drugs and property seized in the wake of Project Pacific, a wide-ranging probe carried out by investigators with Peel’s Specialized Enforcement Bureau Vice Unit along with various other law enforcement agency partners.

Peel police, who’ll host the news conference at 10 a.m., said numerous officers with different police forces “…have engaged in an intensive and multifaceted investigation resulting in the rescue of several human trafficking survivors, charges laid, along with drugs and property seized.”

Human trafficking has become a fast-rising concern in many parts of Canada, particularly in Mississauga and Brampton in recent years.

The two cities’ proximity to major transportation hubs puts the area at risk for sex trafficking activities. Some 62 per cent of Canadian human trafficking cases originate in the GTA, in part due to access to major highways and Pearson Airport.

In 2022, Region of Peel officials approved a $2.1 million human trafficking plan aimed at protecting those who could be victimized and bringing to justice those who are involved in the criminal activity.

Peel officials and police say human sex trafficking impacts the lives of many people, primarily women, with victims facing long-lasting effects of trauma. The average age of victims is 12 to 24, and Ontario accounts for more than 70 per cent of reported cases in Canada.

In February of this year, it was announced that an Ontario-wide enforcement initiative launched in late 2021 had resulted in numerous arrests and charges laid as of early 2023.

If you’re a victim or survivor of human sex trafficking or forced labour, or you know someone who is, contact the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-833-900-1010.

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