Ontario police arrest 100 men in child prostitution case

More than 100 men accused of purchasing prostituted children have been arrested after a multi-year investigation in York Region.

For the past four years, a Toronto police unit has used undercover agents to trap some men willing to pay for sex with underage girls by posting pictures of prostitutes on the internet.

The men charged range in age from 18 to 71 years old, police said, adding that 19 men believed they were buying sex from a 13- or 14-year-old girl.

York regional police say undercover officers advertised sex services online and then posed as girls between the ages of 13 and 16.

Police said dismantling child prostitution rings was always hard: young people pressed into prostitution sometimes live in fear and are not always willing to denounce their pimps.

Truong says the average age of entry into the human trafficking sex trade is about 15 years old.




Of the 104 men arrested, 32 pleaded guilty, according to Susan Orlando, the provincial coordinator of the human trafficking prosecution team.

Of the hundreds of men who had responded to the infiltrators' advertisements, most stopped contacting them when they discovered that they appeared to be in contact with underage girls.

They say the arrests were made following a multiyear operation by the force's Human Trafficking Team.

Human trafficking investigators launched Project Raphael in 2014, which Truong said was a three-pronged approach to combating the issue in the region. "The biggest challenge for us when we're dealing with prostituted children is that enlisting their co-operation is very, very hard".

"Young lives are irreparably damaged, some completely destroyed and other lost completely".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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