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article imageOver 100 men arrested in Ontario child prostitution sting

By Arthur Weinreb     Apr 22, 2017 in Crime
Aurora - Police in York Region, just north of Toronto, announced 104 men have been arrested for attempting to purchase the services of underage prostitutes. Police also managed to rescue young victims who were forced into the sex trade and arrest their pimps.
At a press conference held yesterday, York Regional Police announced the completion of Project Raphael. The four-year investigation led to the arrest of 104 men for attempting to purchase the services of prostitutes after they were specifically told the girls ranged in age between 13 and 16 years.
The idea for the project began in late 2012 when officers tried to get a girl home for the holidays. During that investigation, police found 31 women who were being trafficked. Of these 31, nine were under the age of 18 years.
During Project Raphael, police posted online advertisements and communicated with potential customers via text message. The men inquiring about purchasing sex were specifically told the girls were underage. According to police, most of the men stopped communicating once they were informed of how old these sex workers were/ Most, but not all. Those who wanted to have sex with an underage girl made arrangements to go to a hotel room and once they showed up, they were arrested.
Text messages between a police officer and man trying to purchase sex from a child
Text messages between a police officer and man trying to purchase sex from a child
York Regional Police
the press conference, police gave examples of conversations they had with men. In one case, a 51-year-old trucker was told the person he was communicating with was 16. He wrote, “I have a really cool truck with bunk beds, we could have lots of fun.” The officer replied, “Lol, im 16 mr…I still have to be careful…not sure it’s safe in ur truck.”
Another man, identified as a 25-year-old pilot, said he was looking for someone who is 14, 15 or 13 if she’s really hot. He offered to pay the girl $200 plus $50 to the pimp he assumed he was texting with. He then said he would pay even more if it all worked out.
Police say those who were arrested ranged in age from 18 to 71 years. According to Crown Attorney Susan Orlando, who leads a team that prosecutes human trafficking, the men came from all walks of life and most had no previous criminal records. She said they were not the type of people usually found appearing in criminal courts.
Of the 104 cases, 40 have now been completed. Thirty-two resulted in guilty pleas and four went to trial. Of the four men who chose to go to trial, three were found guilty while the fourth was found not guilty. Five of the cases were withdrawn by prosecutors.
Section 286.1 of the Criminal Code makes it offence to purchase sexual services or communicate for that purpose. When the victim is under the age of 18 years, the maximum punishment is 10 years in prison. The minimum punishment when children are involved is six months in jail for a first offence. Subsequent offences result in a one year minimum jail sentence.
Det. Sgt. Thai Truong
, who headed Project Raphael, said it is difficult to get child victims to trust police and provide information about their pimps. Pressure is taken off these victims by going after those who purchase sex from children and create the demand for child prostitution.
Although not directly related to the sting operation, 85 children have been rescued by York Regional Police since 2012 and 49 child traffickers have been arrested.
More about Child prostitution, York Regional Police, Human trafficking, Sex with minors, police sting
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