Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

An Ontario Provincial Police car is seen in this file photo


A major investigation into human trafficking has led to the rescue earlier this month of 20 people — some as young as 14 — suspected of working in the sex trade as minors or against their will, police said Thursday.

The investigation — called Operation Northern Spotlight — led to the arrest of 47 people who are now facing 135 charges, including trafficking in persons, forcible confinement, child pornography, and sexual assault with a weapon.

Officers met with people suspected of taking part in the sex trade in early October at locations across the country.

Story continues below advertisement

Most of those rescued were under the age of 19, said Ontario Provincial Police Deputy Commissioner Scott Tod.

"Human trafficking victims rarely identify themselves to authorities, so we have to take a proactive approach," Tod said at a news conference.

Ontario Provincial Police led the latest phase of Operation Northern Spotlight, which involved officers from 40 police agencies across Canada and 350 officers and support staff.

The OPP said it worked extensively with the RCMP and the FBI during the investigation.

In September 2005, the RCMP established the Human Trafficking National Co-ordination Centre at its headquarters in Ottawa to combat the growing problem.

"The role is to provide a focal point for law enforcement in their efforts to combat and disrupt individuals and criminal organizations involved in human trafficking activities," said RCMP Chief Superintendent Warren Coons.

In the 10 years since, the centre has had a hand in laying human trafficking charges in 308 cases across the country, Coons said, adding that 93 per cent of those cases involve domestic trafficking.

Story continues below advertisement

"These statistics are just the tip of the iceberg," Coons said.

South of the border, U.S. law enforcement agencies conducted a similar operation — called Cross Country — which resulted in the rescue of 152 children and the arrest of 153 "pimps," according to Joseph Campbell, assistant director of the FBI's criminal investigation division.

Over the past year, Canadian police forces have worked with the FBI in a co-ordinated effort to fight human traffickers.

The FBI's massive operation this past year involved more than 500 state and local law-enforcement partners in 135 American cities. This is the ninth year of the operation during which the FBI said it has rescued more than 750 children.

"It is important to send a message to the children of our countries that we are here to protect them," Campbell said.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to
Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons or for abuse. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies