A man wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for human trafficking in the Toronto area has been arrested in Nova Scotia and charged with 16 offences, police say.
The man, 26, of no fixed address, was taken into custody in Dartmouth, N.S., by Halifax police on Jan. 15. He was returned to Brampton, Ont., last Thursday and held for a bail hearing.
The offences allegedly occurred in Peel Region, west of Toronto, including in Mississauga. Const. Bally Saini, spokesperson for Peel Regional Police, said Dartmouth is the man's hometown.
Suspect travelled between Ont., N.S.
Peel police said in an earlier news release that investigators believed the man travelled frequently between the Greater Toronto Area and Dartmouth.
Saini said the human trafficking investigation began nearly a year ago, when Peel police received a report of a man who had violently assaulted a woman, now 19, on Feb. 3, 2017.
Officers determined that the man had "exploited" the woman in the sex trade for some time.
Investigators with Peel police's major drugs and vice bureau also determined that there was more than one alleged victim.
Police interviewed another woman, 19, who was allegedly exploited by the man during the same time period.
Assault causing bodily harm among charges
Saini could not say for sure if police believe there are other victims.
"We do urge anybody to come forward if they know any information or may be a victim," she said. "We're looking into it still."
She also could not confirm whether or not the man has any gang connections.
The man has been charged with:
- 2 counts of exercise control over a prostitute.
- 2 counts of derive a material benefit from sexual services.
- Trafficking in persons.
- Receiving benefit resulting from trafficking in persons.
- Withholding or destroying documents for the purposes of trafficking in persons.
- 3 counts of assault.
- Assault causing bodily harm.
- Forcible confinement.
- Overcoming resistance by attempting to choke, suffocate or strangle another person.
- Utter threat to cause death or bodily harm.
- Sexual assault.
Anyone with information related to the investigation is asked to call Peel police's major drugs and vice unit at (905) 453-2121, ext. 3555 or 3515.