Manitoba

Ontario woman kidnapped, forced to work in sex trade by Winnipeg captor: police

"I've been doing this 25 years and I don't know if I've seen anything quite like this," a Winnipeg police officer said Thursday following the arrest of a 29-year-old man in connection with a shocking kidnapping and sexual exploitation case.

'I don't know if I've seen anything quite like this,' veteran Winnipeg police officer says

Winnipeg police have charged a 29-year-old man after an Ontario woman was kidnapped and forced to work as an escort in Winnipeg. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

WARNING: This story contains details about physical abuse readers may find disturbing.


A 29-year-old man is facing a long list of charges after a woman was kidnapped in southern Ontario and brought to Winnipeg, where she was held captive for months and forced to work in the city's sex trade.

Police say the woman was locked in a home for four months and suffered severe assaults, including electrical shocks and being locked in a freezer while her captor was away.

It strikes me as something you'd see out of a hyper-sensationalized U.S. TV show, but in fact it was real and it happened right here in our community.- Const. Rob Carver

"She would have been trapped in an essentially coffin-like environment, never knowing if he would come back," police spokesperson Const. Rob Carver said Thursday afternoon.

"I've been doing this 25 years and I don't know if I've seen anything quite like this.

"It strikes me as something you'd see out of a hyper-sensationalized U.S. TV show, but in fact it was real and it happened right here in our community."

Carver said the woman was shocked numerous times using homemade devices "built to inflict electrical torture."

"She was terrified on a regular basis, after having been beaten and tortured, that she would die or suffer more horrific assaults," he said.

"Every part of her body had been assaulted."

Police aren't saying where in southern Ontario the woman was abducted in order to protect her identity. Carver said the man and the victim are known to each other and the kidnapping wasn't random.

'Desperate for help'

The only time the woman was allowed to leave her captor's home, said Carver, was when she was forced to perform sex acts under strict supervision.

The woman went to a police station after escaping while meeting a client on Aug. 6.

She was taken directly to hospital, where she was interviewed by members of the Winnipeg Police Service's counter-exploitation unit.

"She was desperate for help and certainly very co-operative," said Carver.

Officers from the Winnipeg Police Service's tactical support team arrested the 29-year-old suspect on Maryland Street, between Ellice and Sargent avenues, on Sunday.

Andres Michael Pavao of Winnipeg has been charged with a number of offences, including human trafficking, aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and two counts of forcible confinement.

Pavao was previously charged with drug trafficking in 2015 and is wanted for outstanding fraud charges and failing to attend court, Windsor police told CBC.

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With files from Susan Magas and Caroline Barghout

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