Windsor police lay human trafficking charge

A Quebec man is facing human trafficking charges after Windsor police responded to an area hotel to investigate an alleged assault.

27-year-old man from Laval, Que. has been charged with human trafficking

(CBC File photo)

Windsor police have charged a Quebec man with human trafficking after an 18-year-old woman was discovered at a hotel with "visible injuries."

Officers responded to reports of a disturbance in one of the rooms on Jan. 23 and found an injured woman, who said she had been assaulted by a man she was staying with.

Police entered the room where the two people were staying and arrested a man from Laval, Que. without incident, according to Sgt. Steve Betteridge.

Officers have special training to spot the "signs and symptoms" of human trafficking, he said. "One of our biggest goals is the recovery process ... and moving them forward and getting them out of any potentially dangerous situation."

The woman told police she had been involved in a "controlling and manipulative relationship" with the man since June and had become involved in the sex trade.

"The relationship soon evolved into the man controlling many aspects of the woman's life," according to police, including controlling her finances, clientele and her movement throughout the Ontario and Quebec.

The 27-year-old man has been charged with human trafficking charges, two counts of assault with a weapon and one count of assault.

Police said they have connected the woman with victim services to help her recover.

Officers in London, Ont. recently reported a "shocking spike in the number of women and girls being trafficked. Over the past 17 months, the London Abused Women's Centre served 490 women and girls, 159 of which were involved in human trafficking, according to Megan Walker, the organization's director.

To fight back against the sex trade along the 401 corridor from Windsor to Toronto investigators completed three john stings and charged 15 johns.

Betteridge said Windsor hasn't seen a similar spike.

"In the last two to three years, we've had roughly 10 to 12 charges along these lines," he said. "In the big picture, it's a rare charge."

But, he added, because of the nature of the crime, it's often difficult to determine how many people are involved in human trafficking.