Nova Scotia

Ontario police charge St. FX student with human trafficking

A 20-year-old student at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia is facing a slew of charges related to human trafficking. Justin Barrett of Brampton, Ont., was arrested Dec. 13 in his home province in connection with the procurement and exploitation of a 16-year-old girl in the sex trade.

Antigonish unversity says it's aware of the charges against Justin Barrett of Brampton, Ont.

St. Francis Xavier University says there's no indication of any criminal activity in the community of Antigonish related to Justin Barrett. (Robert Short/CBC)

A 20-year-old student at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia is facing a slew of charges related to human trafficking.

Justin Barrett of Brampton, Ont., was arrested Dec. 13 in his home province in connection with the procurement and exploitation of a 16-year-old girl in the sex trade.

In a statement Tuesday, Elizabeth Yeo, vice-president for students at St. FX, said Barrett has been suspended effectively immediately. She did not mention him by name. The statement goes on to say that the university will reconsider Barrett's status once the case has been dealt with by the courts.

In an earlier statement to the university community, Yeo said there's no indication of any criminal activity in the community of Antigonish related to Barrett. The safety of the community remains the university's top priority, the statement read. 

York Regional Police in Ontario released this photo of Justin Barrett in a December news release. (York Regional Police)

York Regional Police say Barrett has been charged with:

  • Trafficking in persons under the age of 18.
  • Material benefit from trafficking in persons under the age of 18.
  • Material benefit from sexual services of a person under 18 years.
  • Procuring a person under the age of 18.
  • Exercising control, direction or influence over a person under the age of 18.
  • Distribution of child pornography.
  • Possession of child pornography.
  • Luring a child under the age of 18.

The police force released a photograph of Barrett online in an effort to find other alleged victims.

They said in addition to his connections to southern Ontario and the Antigonish area, Barrett spent time in West Virginia in 2019.

About the Author

Blair Rhodes

Reporter

Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 35 years, the last 27 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety. He can be reached at blair.rhodes@cbc.ca

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