Ontario police charge St. FX student with human trafficking

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A 20-year-old student at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia is facing a slew of charges related to human trafficking.

Justin Barrett of Brampton, Ont., was arrested Dec. 13 in his home province in connection with the procurement and exploitation of a 16-year-old girl in the sex trade.

In a statement, Elizabeth Yeo, vice-president for students at St. FX, said the university is aware of the charges but it has not been contacted by law enforcement.

Yeo said there's no indication of any criminal activity in the community of Antigonish related to Barrett. The safety of the community remains the university's top priority, the statement read.

York Regional Police
York Regional Police

York Regional Police say Barrett has been charged with:

  • Trafficking in persons under the age of 18.

  • Material benefit from trafficking in persons under the age of 18.

  • Material benefit from sexual services of a person under 18 years.

  • Procuring a person under the age of 18.

  • Exercising control, direction or influence over a person under the age of 18.

  • Distribution of child pornography.

  • Possession of child pornography.

  • Luring a child under the age of 18.

The police force released a photograph of Barrett online in an effort to find other alleged victims.

They said in addition to his connections to southern Ontario and the Antigonish area, Barrett spent time in West Virginia in 2019.

A spokesperson for St. FX declined to answer questions about the case and would not disclose Barrett's current status at the school, one of only two Nova Scotia universities that have been allowing students to attend in person during the pandemic.