Human trafficking crackdown includes Winnipeg police, FBI, others
Operation Northern Spotlight led to the rescue of 20 people, including youth aged 14 to 16
An international crackdown on human trafficking involving the Winnipeg police and 39 other agencies, including the FBI, led to 47 people being charged with 135 offences.
A number of people identified as victims, forced into the sex trade against their will, were also rescued, according to a press release from the Winnipeg Police Service.
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None of those charged were in Winnipeg, but 34 women, aged 19 to 51, were interviewed in massage parlours and hotels throughout the city. A number of them, believed to be under some level of control, were offered help through community organizations.
Internationally, the investigation — named Operation Northern Spotlight — led to the rescue of 20 people, including youth aged 14 to 16.
In all, 348 officers and support staff interviewed 326 people who were mainly women but also included one male and two transgender people, according to police.
The investigation, conducted during a week in early October, led to a range of charges, including trafficking in persons, forcible confinement, child pornography, and sexual assault with a weapon.