Two suspects, including a Young Person, are facing human trafficking charges arising from Project Guardian launched in September 2014.
It’s alleged that an 18-year-old victim was procured and forced into the sex trade by the members of local street gang The Complex Crip Gangsters, accused of operating a widespread human trafficking ring that spanned several provinces.
The victim was taken to hotels throughout southern Ontario, where she was forced to work as a sex trade worker for nearly four months. The victim was prevented from sleeping for days at a time and suffered serious health repercussions.
On July 11, members of the Human Trafficking Enforcement Team and the Gun and Gang Task Force located 20-year-old Levi Alexander and a 17-year-old.
A warrant was issued for 22-year-old Devone Nolan.
Detective David Correa, of the Human Trafficking Enforcement Team, said the gang allegedly operates in the Dundas St. W and Scarlett Rd. area.
“The investigation uncovered a group of young girls and women varying in age from 15-33, being groomed to work as sex trade workers operating out of various hotel and motel locations in Toronto, York, Peel, Hamilton, Waterloo, London, Kitchener, Niagara Falls, Winnipeg and Hamilton,” he said.
A total of 18 officers from the Human Trafficking Enforcement team, Transit, 12, 13, 14, 23, 31 and 51 Divisions worked exclusively on the project with assistance from other Toronto Police units.
“Project Guardian worked in co-operation with outside agencies, which included York Regional Police, Peel Regional Police and the RCMP,” said Correa. “The investigation employed new and innovative techniques to investigate the human trafficking organization and they were quite successful in gathering important evidence that corroborated statements made by victims.”
Overall, 12 people associated with the investigation have been arrested. They face over 70 charges.
Members of the public are encouraged to speak with police if they are victims or are aware of victims of human trafficking.
Anyone with information is asked to contact sex crime investigators at 416-808-7474, leave a tip on Facebook, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at 222tips.com, text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637). Download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World.