Hometown TV12 – Brockville News

Local Information & News Portal For Brockville, Prescott, Gananoque & Leeds-Grenville

SIX CHARGED WITH 51 CRIMINAL OFFENCES: PROVINCIAL HUMAN TRAFFICKING STRATEGY LAUNCHED

ORILLIA – The Provincial Human Trafficking Intelligence-led Joint Forces Strategy (IJFS) was officially launched today. Members from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Barrie Police Service (BPS) and Kingston Police represented the 21 police services involved in the strategy. Two human trafficking investigations, Project WRIGG and Project HARWICH, were highlighted to showcase the cooperative work of the IJFS and the complexity of human trafficking in Ontario.

On January 5, 2021, Kingston Police initiated an investigation into the sexual assault and trafficking of a female victim across Toronto, Montreal and Edmonton from December 2019 to January 2020. The investigation, named Project WRIGG, was managed under the IJFS, supported by the OPP Anti-Human Trafficking Unit and the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch. The investigation identified several potential victims residing throughout Ontario and Quebec.

As a result of the investigation, four suspects were arrested and charged with 43 Criminal Code offences in October 2021. Assistance was provided by police partners in Quebec, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada and the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.

In January 2021, the BPS Human Trafficking Unit initiated an investigation into a male party suspected of trafficking an adult female in Barrie. The IJFS supported the investigation, named Project HARWICH. It was revealed that victims were trafficked out of hotels in the area by two individuals.

On May 19, 2021, the BPS Tactical Unit, BPS Crime Unit and IJFS members from BPS and OPP executed search warrants in Barrie. As a result of the investigation, two suspects were arrested, charged with eight Criminal Code offences and evidence was seized. One of the suspects was arrested on May 19, 2021 and the other was arrested on November 13, 2021.

If anyone has information on any of these investigations, please contact the OPP, BPS or Kingston Police. In an emergency, always call 9-1-1.

A full list of charges for Project WRIGG and Project HARWICH is available in the Addendum of Charged Persons.

ABOUT THE IJFS

On March 6, 2020, the Government of Ontario announced funding in order to establish the IJFS, consisting of full-time investigators and analysts who will be assigned to participating police agencies across Ontario, including municipal and First Nations, along with additional resources to the OPP.

The 21 participating police agencies include: Anishinabek, Awkwesasne, Barrie, Durham, Halton, Hamilton, Kingston, London, Niagara, OPP, Ottawa, Peel, Peterborough, Six Nations, Greater Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Treaty Three, Waterloo, Windsor and York.

QUOTES

These two investigations show that the new Provincial Human Trafficking Intelligence led Joint Forces Strategy is working in identifying, investigating and disrupting multi-jurisdictional human trafficking organizations operating in the province. The increasing volume and the complexity of human trafficking cases requires additional support and partnerships at all levels in the communities we serve to reduce victimization and hold traffickers accountable for their crime.

– OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique

The Barrie Police Service is very proud to be participating in the Provincial Human Trafficking Intelligence-Led Joint Forces Strategy and looks forward to collectively working with law enforcement agencies to dismantle organizations that exploit vulnerable persons. It is through the cooperative efforts of IJFS members that we were able to rescue victims who were trafficked out of hotels and rental properties in Barrie and hold those responsible accountable.

– Barrie Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood

On behalf of the Kingston Police, I am pleased we are a part of the new Provincial Human Trafficking Intelligence-led Joint Forces Strategy. Human Trafficking is a crime that impacts and exploits vulnerable members of our communities and this strategy highlights the importance of multi-jurisdictional collaboration – a shared responsibility – to disrupt human trafficking organizations. Project Wrigg is one such example of a successful investigation which hit close to home for us, as it involved the transportation of victims throughout Ontario, Quebec and Alberta and culminated in the arrest of four individuals, holding them accountable for their crimes.

– Kingston Police Chief Antje McNeely

The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking has resources available for victims and survivors of human trafficking. The website is canadiancentretoendhumantrafficking.ca and a national hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at

1-833-900-1010. An OPP human trafficking resource guide is available at opp.ca/humantrafficking.