Massage parlour investigation leads to 76 human trafficking charges
Man, 33, charged after 3 search warrants were executed and 4 female victims were found, police say
A 33-year-old Ottawa man faces 76 charges after a four-month police investigation into an organized prostitution and human trafficking ring run in massage parlours.
An Ottawa police news release issued Tuesday said the human trafficking unit began the investigation in April after the operation was discovered. The unit then began a follow-up investigation, which "identified links between several locations which advertised sexual services."
Police executed search warrants at three buildings on Charles Street, Merivale Road and York Street, which included two massage parlours.
Four women, each of them victims, were found and interviewed by police.
A man and woman were arrested and police said officers seized $14,000 in cash.
The woman was released without charges, but the 33-year-old man faces 76 charges including:
- Trafficking in persons – recruiting.
- Trafficking in persons – receive material benefit.
- Procuring persons to provide sexual services for consideration.
- Receive material benefit from sexual services for consideration.
- Advertise another person's sexual services.
- Possession of proceeds of crime over $5,000.
Police said the man appeared in court on Tuesday for a bail hearing. The investigation continues.
Massage parlours targeted in April
These charges come after 11 women were found as part of a human trafficking investigation, also launched in April, which looked into commercial massage parlours and body rub facilities.
There were 20 locations investigated at that time and 11 bylaw charges were laid for improper licensing.
Canada Border Services Agency also detained 11 women for immigration-related matters and removal orders were then issued for each woman because they were found to be working without a valid work permit, police said.
No criminal charges were laid at the time.