A police force in the Greater Toronto Area saysit is targeting a violent group of pimps from North Preston, near Halifax.
Peel Regional Police say the group, called North Preston's Finest, forces young girls from Nova Scotia into stripping and selling sex in clubs around southern Ontario, ordering them to make at least $1,000 a night and taking all the money.
"The problem really comes when the girl doesn't want to do it anymore, and then she's either threatened or her family is threatened or her safety is threatened somehow, so in a sense she is being trafficked," said Det. Randy Cowan, with the Peel vice squad.
The squad has raided many strip clubs and found the same activities in the VIP rooms: naked dancers bumping and grinding in men's laps, some allowing various sex acts.
Vice cops routinely look for East Coast addresses in the identification of dancers registered at these clubs.
The laws make fighting prostitution difficult, Cowan said, so his unit is targeting the pimps cashing in on the action.
He said they are recognizable by their NPF tattoos and are caught up in the hip-hop gangsta lifestyle, complete with gunplay and extreme violence.
Some members face charges of murder, sexual assault and aggravated assault.
One longtime strip club manager in the region said he's never seen anything like the Nova Scotia pimps.
"When you have some other element controlling in any way, shape or form your employees, and that's exactly what they are doing, that affects the control that you have in your business," said Mike Lenius, who has been in the business for 19 years.
In the early 1990s, police cracked a ring that abducted young women from Nova Scotia, tortured them and forced them into street prostitution.
Cowan said police are now looking at establishing a task force to target North Preston's Finest.