A 17-year-old girl was charged Friday for recruiting a 16-year-old girl into the sex trade. Police say the 16-year-old girl was a student at St. Joseph’s College in March 2015, when she was approached by a 17-year-old girl who introduced her to two men.
The 16-year-old was told that she could make a lot of money working for the men.
The men allegedly used threats and intimidation to force the young woman to become a sex trade worker, police said.
Police have accused the 17-year-old recruiter of taking inappropriate photos of the 16-year-old and posting them on a website called backpage.com.
The victim was taken to various Toronto hotels where she was forced to have sex with clients for money. According to police, the two men took all of the money she made.
It is also alleged that the two men also sexually assaulted the 16-year-old girl themselves.
“These pimps will get younger girls to recruit for them. It’s a lot easier for girls to recruit for them rather than for them to recruit out of the schools,” said Det. Sgt. Nunzio Tramontozzi.
On Friday, a 17-year-old Toronto girl was arrested by the Human Trafficking Enforcement Team. She was charged with five sex trafficking offenses, including procuring a person under 18 years of age, making child pornography and advertising sexual services.
She cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Police charged two male suspects, Henry Borrego-Salinas, 25, and Justin Ferguson, 26, in connection with the crime on April 21 after getting a search warrant for a residence. Some of the charges include sexual assault on a person under 18 and material benefit from trafficking in person.
The charges have not been proven in court.
Senior coordinator of the Toronto Catholic District School Board John Yan that a note was sent to the parents at St. Joseph’s College. The note explained that “a former student has been arrested and charged with a variety of serious offenses. Sadly, the victim has also been identified by police as a student at our school.”
Yan says the school is cooperating with police. He also says the school is providing support for students in need.
“It’s unfortunate. It’s one of those things that you have to come to grips with as a modern society,” Yan told CTV Toronto. “It’s something that could have happened to any school in the GTA.”
“It is in our middle schools and parents need to know who their kids are hanging out with and stop this before it goes any further,” added Tramontozzi.
Police believe there are other victims involved and encourage them to come forward. Anyone with information should contact police at 416-808-7474.