Two men face human trafficking charges, accused of forcing an Alberta woman to have sex against her will. Police charged a 32-year-old from Edmonton and a 28-year-old from Montreal in the case, which required an in-depth investigation involving several sections of the RCMP, both in Lloydminster and throughout Canada.
Police say the 18-year-old alleged victim is a Canadian citizen from Alberta who phoned RCMP for help from a Lloydminster, Alta., address. One man was arrested a soon after, while another was later arrested in Manitoba.
“The victim was introduced to these two gentlemen through a mutual friend,” said RCMP Const. Grant Kirzinger. “She was forced to come to Lloydminster. She was forced into having sex with other men against her will.”
She received medical treatment and victim services gave her emotional support. Both men are in custody and are scheduled to appear in court July 6 via closed circuit television in St Paul.
Kirzinger said the Lloydminster RCMP worked closely with the Calgary Police Service, project CARE, neighbouring RCMP detachments, strategic communications in Edmonton, and the forensic identification unit throughout the investigation.
“Whenever we’re faced with an investigation of this size, we want to make sure that we utilize all the available resources, that we conduct a thorough investigation to make sure that we don’t miss any potential leads or evidence that could be out there.” said Kirzinger.
“When we’re dealing with person crimes, we look at every possible option.”
He said the investigation is concluded and the two people arrested were the only suspects in the case. The woman was the only victim they came across, Kirzinger said.
He also said this case appears to have no link to organized crime.
Advocacy groups and law enforcement agencies have issued several warnings to women about so-called romeo pimps, who deliberately groom young victims by starting relationships with them, then coerce them into the sex trade.
Human trafficking became part of the criminal code of Canada in 2005, but convictions in such cases are rare.
RCMP records show there were 85 convictions for human trafficking in all of Canada in the past 10 years.