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Brampton duo charged with human trafficking after police find teen girls in Burlington

A man and a boy from Brampton are facing human trafficking charges after police found two teen girls in a Burlington hotel in July.

Police say 2 girls, aged 16 and 18, were human trafficking victims

Halton Regional Police Service say they found two teenage girls in a Burlington hotel who they say are human trafficking victims. (Jeremy Cohn/CBC)

A man and a boy from Brampton are facing human trafficking charges after police found two teen girls in a Burlington hotel in July.

Const. Steve Elms, a Halton police media relations officer, told CBC the service responded to reports from a hotel near North Service Road and Appleby Line on July 30.

Elms said police arrested a 22-year-old man and a young offender, both from Brampton.

One of the accused was in Barrie, prompting local police to arrest him and bring him to the Halton region.

The age of the younger offender hasn't been released.

"Although lawfully we are able to release that info, given the nature of the investigation and relationship and ages of the involved parties, we need to be extra careful not to provide any info that could possibly lead to the identification of the victim or youth offender," Elms said.

"We do believe there may be further victims in regards to this, so for that reason, the investigation may continue.  We would like to urge possible victims to come forward and reach out to police."

The 22-year-old faces charges for:

  • Trafficking in persons – child.
  • Material benefit - trafficking in persons – child.
  • Material benefit - purchasing offence – child.
  • Knowingly advertising for sexual services (two counts).
  • Trafficking in persons – adult.
  • Material benefit – trafficking in persons – adult.
  • Material benefit – purchasing offence – adult.
  • Withholding or destroying an identity document – adult.
  • Assault.
  • Procuring – child.

The boy faces similar charges:

  • Trafficking in persons – child.
  • Material benefit – trafficking in persons – child.
  • Material benefit – purchasing offence – child.
  • Knowingly advertising for sexual services (two counts).
  • Trafficking in persons – adult.
  • Material benefit – trafficking in persons – adult.
  • Material benefit – purchasing offence – adult.
  • Procuring – child.

How do you spot human trafficking?

Elms said there are a number of warning signs that could indicate human trafficking.

One of those signs is someone being in total control of another person. The victim would be escorted at all times, including driven to and from locations. The victim would be under a watchful eye, and someone else would speak for them in public.

The person would have no form of identification, money or cellphone. Other times, they may have an abundance of cash or hotel keys.

Victims are usually not familiar with the area and claim to be "new" or "just visiting."

Elms added victims may act fearful, nervous or be on edge about upsetting whoever is accompanying them.

They might have visible signs of drug addiction and might use common terms in the sex industry like "daddy," "pimp" and "bottom," among others.

The victim could also have clothing that isn't age or weather appropriate one day and clothes in excess the next day.

Elms also explained the psychology of being exploited as a prostitute.

They may not understand they are victims if their trafficker is a friend or partner. And if they are being provided with basic necessities, they may not appear to need help. Others may feel guilt for what they receive and continue to stay as a way to pay back their trafficker.

They may not understand their rights and don't know they can receive help and may fear approaching law enforcement only to end up arrested or deported. They may also fear for their family's safety or their own.

Elms said victims feel "alone, isolated, helpless with nowhere else to turn. Subsequently they will do as they are told ... [they] suffer trauma and psychological effects. In human trafficking related to sexual exploitation, the victims may be exposed to higher incidences of HIV and sexually transmitted infections."

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