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Police arrest and charge Niagara Falls man in local human trafficking case

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A 55-year-old Niagara Falls man is facing a slew of charges, ranging from sexual assault to human trafficking after police responded to a call in Parry Sound.

In a release sent Tuesday, police say the arrest follows an investigation that began with a sexual assault complaint brought to OPP in late March. Constable Joe Scali with the West Parry Sound OPP says the complainant reached out to a social services worker who in turn reached out to the detachment. 

The 55-year-old man faces the following charges; 

  1. Sexual assault on a person under 16 years of age, contrary to Section 271 of the Criminal Code (CC)
  2. Invitation to sexual touching under 16 years of age, contrary to Section 152 CC
  3. Sexual interference, contrary to Section 151 CC,
  4. Traffic in person under 18 years of age, contrary to Section 279.011 CC
  5. Administer noxious thing – Methamphetamine, contrary to Section 245 CC
  6. Administer noxious thing – Crack Cocaine, contrary to Section 245 CC
  7. Indecent exposure to a person under 16 years of age, contrary to Section 173(2) CC
  8. Failure to comply with release order, contrary to Section 145(5)(a) CC (two counts)
  9. Traffic in schedule I substance – Cocaine, contrary to Section 5(1) of the Controlled Drug and Substance Act (CDSA)
  10. Traffic in schedule I substance – Methamphetamine (Crystal Meth), contrary to Section 5(1) CDSA
  11. Possession of a schedule I substance – Cocaine, contrary to Section 4(1) CDSA
  12. Possession of a schedule I substance – Opioid (other than heroin), contrary to Section 4(1) CDSA

The accused remains in custody and is set to appear in the Parry Sound court on Wednesday, April 6.

Scali says If you have any thought that someone is being abused in any situation, be it human trafficking or physical abuse, please contact the authorities or the police. 

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Image supplied by the West Parry Sound OPP detachment,

He believes the best way for our community to resolve this problem is for all of us to be educated on it, adding the United Church’s presentation on human trafficking and youth awareness is taking place Wednesday, April 6, at 6 PM at The Drop on 24 Mary Street. 

You can register for this event by calling Angela at 705 774 3374 or emailing victimspecialist@vianet.ca

Scali says Ontario has been seeing a rise in the number of people being recruited for sexual and labor exploitation, or human trafficking.

“Typically in Canada, victims are trafficked domestically and provincially. Throughout Ontario police are seeing an increase in traffickers who are recruiting potential victims from small towns and transporting them using our major highways to various destinations,” he says.

Scali says, unfortunately, the major highway corridor that Parry Sound is on, makes for easy access to the community.

Scali says traffickers will target smaller communities and use the notion that they can bring a potential victim to a better, bigger town. He says they would go as far as buying their victims gifts from larger and more expensive stores to attract someone who is in a vulnerable state.

He says human trafficking victims are often ‘extremely vulnerable’, and rarely identify themselves or their trafficking situation to the police or other authorities. 

“They gain [the victim’s] confidence quickly in a matter of days, and then, unfortunately, that relationship starts and continues on to human trafficking,” Scali explains.

He urges caregivers to be aware of who young people are interacting with, adding that it’s great to have a good line of communication open all the time.

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