78 people arrested, 18 women rescued in Ontario human trafficking probe

Police in southwestern Ontario say 78 people have been arrested in a human trafficking investigation.

London, Ont., police say 18 women who were involved in the sex trade as a result of alleged human trafficking were assisted during the investigation, dubbed Project Equinox that began on Oct. 4, 2016.

They say the alleged victims ranging in age from 15 to 55 were relocated to a safe place away from their alleged traffickers and provided with supports.

Investigators say they concentrated on three aspects of human trafficking _ identifying people who were answering escort ads, suspects engaged in human trafficking, and possible victims.

They say a total of 129 criminal code charges were laid, including four human trafficking charges and 24 drug charges. Thirty-five alleged customers were also charged.

Police say officers seized drugs, cash and weapons, including knives, an expandable baton and a rifle.