Human Trafficking In Greater Toronto: 15-year-old B.C. Visitor Forced To Sell Sex And Pay Off Debt With Pimps
The human trafficking boom in the Greater Toronto Area has forced a 15-year-old visitor from British Columbia to provide sex to as many as 10 clients a day for about three weeks. The underage girl was reportedly drugged and forced into the sex trade by three men now facing a total of 15 human trafficking and material benefit charges.
According to Inside Toronto, the British Columbia girl visiting relatives in Ontario last September 2015, met a man with whom she exchanged mobile phone numbers. In November, he texted her for a date, and she agreed to meet him. He showed up with another man to pick her up, and a police press release on Wednesday, June 8, 2016, said her two companions “supplied her with a large quantity of alcohol and drugs” that made her compliant to their human trafficking gig.
Police indicated that the teen was then taken to a Toronto hotel where she would provide the sex in their human trafficking scheme. The police report detailed how she was coerced into the trade.
“The men took photos of her in certain degrees of undress and posted them on backpages.com, advertising sexual services. They told her what to charge her clients for specific sex acts.”
The human trafficking arrangement lasted over a period of three weeks during which she had sex with 10 or more clients daily and turned all her earnings over to her handlers. She worked in different hotels along part of Southern Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe, from Oshawa to Toronto and to Niagara Falls.
When she was kicked out of a room in an Oshawa hotel, a third man was brought into the human trafficking operation to book rooms for her and her clients. She was told she had to work more to pay for the inconvenience of being removed from the hotel.
According to CKNW News, the victim was able to call police for help on December 17, 2015, less than a week before Christmas. The human trafficking enforcement team of the sex crimes unit, began an investigation that led to the arrest of three men between June 2 and 6, 2016.
Charges of human trafficking have been laid against Ahmadu Ahmed, 20; Maher Saleh, 20, and 19-year-old Jerome Laing, all of Toronto. The crime they face involves the coercion of a person under 18 to participate in sex acts and receiving material benefit from the sexual services she provided.
According to the Toronto Star, young Canadian girls are being beaten, branded, and bought and sold in hotels, motels, and along highways in human trafficking across the GTA and Ontario. So prevalent has it become that police, pimps and victims have taken to calling it “The Game.”
The Star report defines sexual human trafficking as the forced confinement or transportation of a person for the purpose of sexual exploitation. The report also asserts that, contrary to popular belief, almost all of the victims in Canada are Canadian born.
Police authorities attribute the growth and staying power of human trafficking to its being so lucrative. A pimp can earn $280,000 a year from one sex-trade worker, by current estimates.
Online solicitation has also changed the rules of The Game by spiriting the merchandise off the streets and offering them behind closed doors. The girls are typically sold on the website Backpage.com which police investigators blame for running human trafficking advertisements across North America.
Recently, The Star tracked human merchandise lured into The Game and sold throughout the GTA. The game plan was to move them every few days between four-star downtown hotels to cheap motels and strip clubs along Highway 401 and the Queen Elizabeth Way.
The Star discussed the problem with Suni, the owner of the Mississauga Gates Inn, who described the trafficking of young girls as a daily occurrence. He explained the challenge high-end hotels and small motels like his have to face every day.
“We are kicking these people out like f#@king crazy. We are battling the struggle every day.”
Human trafficking was written into the Criminal Code of Canada in 2005, but it was only in 2015 that the first pimp in Toronto was convicted. Tyrone Burton, 31, was found guilty of keeping two teenagers against their will, withholding their identity documents, and coercing them to work in the sex business.
Ontario Parliament Member Laurie Scott put forward a motion to the legislature in May, calling for the creation of a provincial task force to combat homegrown human trafficking and increase funding.
Her motion passed, an acknowledgment of the ordeal experienced by the 15-year-old human trafficking victim on a family visit from British Columbia.
[Photo by Jason Merritt /Getty Images]