Tashlynn Marie Shaw, a 23-year-old Halifax woman, has been arraigned on almost two dozen charges including human trafficking, forcible confinement and assault.
Police said the case involves two girls under the age of 16 who were coerced into working in the sex trade.
"Our investigator in the vice unit received some information about a woman exercising control and coercing young girls into prostitution," said Halifax Regional Police Const. Pierre Bourdages.
"One of these victims was seriously assaulted on two different occasions with a weapon."
Officers started their investigation last week and interviewed the girls. As a result, Shaw was arrested at her Herring Cove Road residence on Wednesday and made a brief court appearance Thursday morning.
Bourdages said police believe there are more victims.
"In this specific investigation, we do believe there are more young ladies that have been taken control of by this individual, by Ms. Shaw," he said.
"We do encourage anyone with information about any other victims — or any other victims themselves — to call police."
Shaw has been charged with:
- Trafficking a person under the age of 18, two counts.
- Material benefit, two counts.
- Invitation to sexual touching, two counts.
- Exercising control, direction or influence over the movements of a person to aid in prostitution, two counts.
- Living off the avails of prostitution of a person under the age of 18, two counts.
- Counselling a person under the age of 18 to engage in prostitution, two counts.
- Using intimidation or coercion in relation to someone under the age of 18 to engage in prostitution, two counts.
- Possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, two counts.
- Assault with a weapon, two counts.
- Luring of a child under the age of 18.
- Assault causing bodily harm.
- Forcible confinement.
This is third time this year that a woman has been arrested on allegations connected to coercing young girls into prostitution.
In May, Corena Charmaine Hiles was charged with one charge of trafficking a person under the age of 18 and one charge of benefiting materially from the results of trafficking. The 40-year-old woman was also charged with living off the avails of prostitution and procuring someone into underage prostitution.
In February, Florence Muriel Young was charged with 14 prostitution-related charged involving a girl under the age of 18. Several weeks later, the 36-year-old woman was accused of victimizing another two girls and was charged with 18 additional charges.