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HomeNewsJoint Human Trafficking Investigation Rescues Five Victims Including Three Who Were Underage

Joint Human Trafficking Investigation Rescues Five Victims Including Three Who Were Underage

ONTARIO-Police arrested and charged multiple individuals in connection with a human trafficking investigation. Among those victimized were three people who were underage at some point during the time they were trafficked.

“Project Uptown’s success underscores the vital importance of collaboration between law enforcement agencies and community partners in combating the heinous crime of human trafficking. This investigation demonstrates that by working together, we can disrupt these criminal activities and provide crucial support to the victims.” said Detective Inspector Mike Thurlow – OPP IJFS Lead

The Provincial Human Trafficking Intelligence-Led Joint Forces Strategy (IJFS) launched an investigation, named Project Uptown, in October 2022 when they received information about suspected human trafficking.

As a result of Project Uptown:

• Five victims were identified

• Six individuals were arrested

• 81 charges were laid

• $1,100 in Canadian currency was seized

• More than 30 grams of various illicit substances were recovered

• One firearm was recovered

Notably, during the investigation, investigators discovered a female victim had been trafficked throughout Ontario by eight separate male parties since 2014. Each accused employed different methods of exploitation and has been charged with additional crimes beyond human trafficking.

Victims have been referred to dedicated victim services to ensure they receive continued support. The success of Project Uptown underscores the critical importance of cooperation among law enforcement partners in combating human trafficking.

IJFS partner agencies who supported this investigation include: Anishinabek Police Service, Barrie Police Service, Durham Regional Police Service, Greater Sudbury Police Service, Halton Regional Police Service, Hamilton Police Service, Kingston Police Service, Niagara Regional Police Service, Ottawa Police Service, Peel Regional Police, Six Nations Police Service, Toronto Police Service and York Regional Police.

Members of the OPP Victim-Centred Approach Team, OPP Digital Forensics and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) also assisted. North Simcoe Victim Services and Sudbury & Area Victim Services provided victim support and education.

If you or someone you know is being trafficked, call your local police. The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking has resources available for victims and survivors of human trafficking on their website at canadiancentretoendhumantrafficking.ca . A national hotline is also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-833-900-1010.


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