On the heels of Operation Cross Country in the U.S., Canada is celebrating its own success story this week. As a result of Operation Northern Spotlight, a initiative targeting human trafficking, 47 people have been charged and 20 victims rescued (most of whom where under 19). 40 police units, including OPP and RCMP, were part on the initiative. Some of the charges included:
- Trafficking in persons
- Receiving financial/material benefit
- Sexual assault with a weapon
- Recruiting person under 18 years old to provide sexual service
- Withholding/destroying travel or identify document
- Possessing child pornography
“Our partnerships enabled the FBI and Canadian law enforcement agencies to share best practices and intelligence. As a result of this collaboration and sharing, both U.S. and Canadian law enforcement agencies rescued children and arrested those involved in the trafficking of children.”
Here’s a clip of trafficking survivor Timea Nagy, describing her experience and shedding light on the invisible chains many victims endure.
Read the full story here.
- It is absolutely incredible to see police units working together on this, not just within Canada, but internationally as well. Units working in isolation of each other limits human trafficking investigations, because victims are often moved around and the only way to piece together the big picture is to work across multiple jurisdictions.
- A huge piece of this investigation involved police speaking with people who were selling sexual services, asking them if they needed help or were experiencing force. We’ve met many Canadian police officers who are committed to building trust, making their investigations more effective.
- The police have emphasized that the victims that were rescued in this investigation have been brought to safety. Wonder what that looks like? Read our interview with Laura Burch, who specializes in taking care of victims the police send her way.
- While the fight against exploitation is never over, let’s pause and celebrate the hard work of our Canadian and American anti-trafficking investigators and the victims who are entering a new chapter of being survivors.