Charges laid after 3 teen girls brought from Toronto area to work in Ottawa sex trade

A man and a woman from Toronto face charges after three teen girls were brought from the Toronto area to work in Ottawa's sex trade, Ottawa police say.

3 victims are 15, 16, 17 years old, Ottawa police say

A man and a woman from Toronto face charges after three teen girls were brought from the Toronto area to work in Ottawa's sex trade, Ottawa police say.

Sgt. Jeff Leblanc is head of the Ottawa police human trafficking unit. (Chloe Fedio/CBC)

Sgt. Jeff LeBlanc of the Ottawa police human trafficking unit said patrol officers got a call from someone concerned about a young woman who may have been in the Centretown area early Monday morning.

As they investigated, officers went to a hotel and found "what appeared to be an operation being run out of a few hotel rooms that involved the advertisement and sale of sexual services involving underage females," Leblanc said.

The girls — 15, 16 and 17 years old — are all from the Toronto area, police said.

"We have reason to believe [the accused] had been operating for a longer period of time and in multiple jurisdictions," LeBlanc said in an interview.

"We've already been in contact with Toronto area police, we're dealing with Peel, Toronto and York, to kind of create a timeline as to what happened in the weeks and maybe even months leading up to them arriving in Ottawa."

Police believe the three teens and two accused had only been in Ottawa for a few days before they were found, Leblanc said.

On GTA police radar

A 27-year-old Toronto man and a 19-year-old Toronto woman were arrested at the downtown Ottawa hotel. They are each charged with:

  • Three counts of trafficking people under 18 years old.
  • Three counts of receiving material benefits for human trafficking.
  • Three counts of procuring persons under 18 years old to provide sexual services.
  • Three counts of advertising another person's sexual services.
  • One count of failing to comply with a judicial release.

The woman is also facing a charge of breach of probation.

They weren't known to Ottawa police but had been on the radar of police in the Toronto area, Leblanc said.

It's fairly common for human traffickers to move victims between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal given their relatively close locations, he added.