15-year-old Ottawa girls charged with human trafficking
Published Monday, June 11, 2012 6:48PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, June 13, 2012 1:16PM EDT
Two 15-year-old girls in Ottawa are facing a slew of charges, including sexual assault and forcible confinement, in what police say are "shocking" allegations of human trafficking.
Ottawa police allege three female victims ranging in age between 13 and 17 were used as prostitutes in separate incidents.
Police said the victims were taken to a residence in the 2400 block of Walkley Road and then driven to other locations "for the purposes of prostitution."
The two accused girls were arrested on Friday and Saturday, police said. They face multiple charges, including human trafficking, robbery, abduction, forcible confinement, and sexual assault.
The accused cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Police said they are still looking for a third suspect, a 17-year-old girl.
"When you think of human trafficking and the stereotypes that go with it, right or wrong, you don't think of three young-offender girls," Staff Sgt. John McGetrick told CTV Ottawa. "It's shocking for our team. They've never seen anything like this."
The mother of one of the accused girls told CTV Ottawa she was surprised by the charges against her daughter. She said she would have known if anyone was being held at their house.
Police wouldn't say Monday whether the victims and the accused knew each other. However, they said the girls appeared to have connections on social media websites.
Neighbours at the community housing complex on Walkley Road in Ottawa's east end said they saw police coming in and out of the residence where the victims were allegedly confined. They assumed there had been a drug bust, said resident Wafa Issa.
Just last week, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews announced a new law enforcement squad to crack down on human trafficking in Canada. The plan is to streamline the efforts of more than a dozen government bodies tackling the crime.
The government said it will also offer more training to frontline workers and boost support to human trafficking victims.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Joanne Schnurr