104 men arrested in York Region for allegedly trying to purchase prostituted children
Adam Ward, CTV Barrie
Published Friday, April 21, 2017 12:49PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 21, 2017 5:19PM EDT
More than 100 men have been arrested for allegedly trying to purchase prostituted children online from undercover officers.
During a news conference on Friday, Det. Sgt. Thai Truong said over the last three years York Regional Police officers developed personas as pimps and traffickers.
These officers would then post ads offering escorts and young women online. This attracted the attention of men of different ages and from all walks of life.
Troung says when someone inquired about the ads, officers would indicate they had children available as well.
For the most part this dissuaded a significant number of men from going any further, but some still arranged meetings.
Officers also posed as children between the ages of 13 and 16, and conversed with some these men.
York Regional Police shared one of the interactions they had with a 25-year-old pilot. The pilot wrote via text message, “14 or 15 and hot. Would go 13 if she’s killer.”
A 51-year-old trucker shared similar texts with a YRP officer, who he thought was a 16-year-old girl.
“I have a really cool truck with bunk beds in the back we could have lots of fun. I would be very careful and gentle with you.”
To date, officers have arrested 104 men through Project Raphael. The men charged were between the ages of 18 and 71.
“When the agreement was made to have sex with the child, they finalized the agreement and when they arrived to essentially complete the transaction they were arrested.”
Of the 104 cases, 40 have been resolved with 32 pleading guilty. Four cases went to trial with three of those men being found guilty, and one being acquitted.
Investigators say the average age of entry into the sex trade is about 15 years old.
“We have identified 85 actual prostituted children working within the region. Of those 85, 49 of them we were able to arrest their pimps, their traffickers, individuals who were exploiting them.”
Troung says many of the children involved in the sex trade have a hard time trusting and explaining what they know.
“We’re trying to take the onus off them as best we can and go after the men that are driving the industry and the men that are searching and purchasing our children.”
A look at those arrested:
- 27-year-old Aurora man
- 24-year-old Aurora man
- 39-year-old Barrie man
- 29-year-old Bradford man
- 38-year-old Bradford man
- 39-year-old Bradford man
- 38-year-old Everett man
- 54-year-old Newmarket man
- 24-year-old Newmarket man
- 22-year-old Newmarket man
- 39-year-old Stouffville man
- 36-year-old Stouffville man
- 24-year-old Stouffville man
- 42-year-old Stouffville man