Five charged in three human trafficking cases
Three separate cases.
Five people arrested and charged with human trafficking offences in the downtown core, in Barrhaven and in the Hunt Club area.
Police say they came across the first case on July 22nd, when two women allegedly approached a pair of girls, aged 14 and 15 in Sandy Hill and offered them a ride.
"The circumstances of the initial meeting were probably sheer coincidence and they just took the opportunity to attempt to lure and recruit two young and vulnerable females into the sex trade," said Sgt. Jeff Leblanc with the Ottawa Police Human Trafficking Unit.
Patrol officers found the girls in an apartment in the 300 block of Gloucester Street. Two women and a man were arrested at that scene.
Amina Ahmed, 30, is charged with two counts of trafficking in persons under 18 by recruiting, two counts of trafficking in persons under 18 by exercising control, two counts of advertising another person's sexual services, two counts of procuring a person under 18 to provide sexual services and one count of possessing drugs.
Nadio Ngoto, 32, is charged with two counts of trafficking in persons under 18 by recruiting, two counts of trafficking in persons under 18 by exercising control, two counts of procuring a person under 18 to provide sexual services and one count of uttering threats.
Shukri Aden, 35, is charged with two counts of sexual assault, two counts of sexual interference under 16 and failure to comply with judicial release.
Leblanc said the grooming of young victims into the sex trade is an issue they are encountering more and more often.
"The main concern is the age of the victims and that's something that we're seeing a trend toward younger female victims and a lot of the cases we're investigating now involve females around that age, the 14 to 16-year-old range," said Leblanc.
Leblanc said earlier this month patrol officers attending a domestic assault call in Barrhaven came across another case of human trafficking.
"When the patrol officers responded and got the details at the scene, we were notified because it appeared to be another case where the female was involved in the sex trade and it was against her will," said Leblanc. "The patrol officers had the presence of mind to ask the right questions on the scene and then notify us and we got involved very early on in the investigation," he said. "Luckily patrol officers had already made an arrest in the case."
Jordan Noel, 27, is charged with trafficking in persons, trafficking in persons to receive material benefit, two counts of assault, uttering threats, procuring a person to provide a sexual service, receiving material benefit from sexual services, advertising another person's sexual services, theft under $5,000 and breach of probation.
Leblanc said the third case was the culmination of a year and a half long investigation into a human trafficking ring.
The Tactical Unit executed a search warrant a a home on Wisteria Crescent off of Paul Anka Drive in the Hunt Club area on September 7th, where they arrested a man and a woman.
"That investigation led us to a number of rental units, mainly in the downtown and west areas of Ottawa," said Leblanc. "We linked at least five addresses to that operation where there was an organized prostitution operation in each of those rental units."
Leblanc said seven women were being trafficked in these locations.
"In this case, there may have been advertisements that would lead one to believe that there was a massage parlour operation at some of those addresses," said Leblanc."
Qiang Tian, 35, and Xi Zhang, 33, are each charged with five counts of trafficking in persons, five counts of trafficking in persons to receive material benefit, six counts of receiving material benefit from sexual services, six counts of procuring a person to provide sexual services, six counts of advertising another person's sexual services and possessing proceeds obtained by crime.
A man was taken to hospital in serious condition after being rescued from the Rideau River.
Although there is no date for when LRT will be up and running in Ottawa, the city has outlined what riders need to know once it is.