On Wednesday and Thursday, Halton police officers identified and met with more than 20 sex trade workers operating in local hotels as part of a national initiative to identify victims of human trafficking and provide support to people working in the sex trade.
During one of those meetings, officers were told about a 15-year-old girl being exploited as a sex worker at a hotel in Burlington.
The accused was “exercising control over the victim and facilitating her exploitation,” Halton police said in a Friday news release. The woman and the teen are not related, Det.-Const. Martin Dick told CBC News in Hamilton.
Dick would not elaborate on any details of the case as it “might identify the victim,” he said.
“We recognize there is a problem with human trafficking — not just in Halton,” he said. “We are aggressively targeting those responsible for exploitation.”
A 22-year-old Angus, Ont., woman was arrested and charged with trafficking a person under the age of 18; procuring a person to become a prostitute; controlling a person to engage in prostitution; and living off the avails of a person under the age of 18.
The girl has been taken to a safe place, police say.
Halton police want people working in the sex trade industry to know police “really are there to help,” Dick said.
“This is victim-centric support. We’re here for the help and support they require.”
Workers in the sex trade looking for support can contact the Walk with Me and Chrysalis organizations, police say.