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article image78 arrested in human trafficking probe in Ontario

By Owen Weldon     Apr 12, 2017 in Crime
London - In southwestern Ontario, 78 people were arrested in connection with a human trafficking investigation, which started in October 2016.
Police in London said 18 women, all involved in the sex trade, were assisted during the investigation called Project Equinox. The victims ranged from 15-55 and they were relocated to a safe place from the alleged traffickers. Police said they were also provided with support.
Thirty-five men were arrested after they were caught trying to buy sex. Over 100 charges were brought forward, which included four for human trafficking.
On Monday, London police said Project Equinox involved cooperation from other forces from Woodstock, Strathroy-Caradoc and Stratford. As of now, police didn't publicly identify any of the people arrested or charged.
Project Equinox focused on three aspects, with one being human trafficking investigations that identified suspects and then charged them. Finding victims of human trafficking and relocating them was another aspect. The third one was John stings that identified those answering escort ads.
The director of one of the city's agencies, the London Abused Women's Centre, which was involved with Project Equinox applauded police's efforts for battling human trafficking. However, she said human trafficking was challenging to prosecute.
The director, Megan Walker, said charges often rely on the victim to testify that she was trafficked. She said a lot of women are scared, so they won't disclose such information.
More about Arrested, Ontario, Human trafficking
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