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RCMP Arrest 7 in Alleged Human Trafficking Operation in Southern Manitoba

July 9, 2024 2:43 PM | The Canadian Press

By The Canadian Press

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Manitoba RCMP Headquarters in Winnipeg, Monday, Jan. 29, 2024. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski)

RCMP have made arrests after they say two girls were exploited in a human trafficking operation in southern Manitoba.

Seven people face various charges, including human trafficking, sexual assault and making child pornography.

Police say a woman befriended the vulnerable 15-year-old girls and offered them drugs and money to go to different homes last year in Portage la Prairie.

They allege the woman often locked the girls inside and forced them to perform sexual acts on men in exchange for drugs and sometimes money.

Investigators say they believe there are more victims, including an unidentified girl believed to be 13 or 14.

A 43-year-old woman from Long Plain First Nation and six men face a total of 65 offences.

Mounties said they became aware of the operation after getting a tip in February about a girl seen around the city with older men.

Police allege the accused woman was present when the sexual assaults happened and she received payment from the men in drugs, including methamphetamine and cocaine.

“If you think it’s not happening in your community, you are wrong. Youth of all ages, backgrounds and life circumstances can be exploited and taken advantage of through the actions of adults,” Insp. Shawn Pike told a press conference Tuesday.

Portage la Prairie Mayor Sharilyn Knox said the city of about 14,000 west of Winnipeg needs to step up after failing to protect its youth.

“It’s about empowering the rest of our community to make sure that we’re teaching our young children to feel their worth, to report things and to just make sure that the supports are there,” Knox said.

CP - The Canadian Press


Tags: Crime | Manitoba | RCMP