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Alleged human trafficker at Ontario camp for vulnerable children seeks bail


An Essa Township couple at the centre of a human trafficking investigation appeared in court Wednesday.

Amber Maloney and her husband, Lauriston, were arrested last month and face several charges, including trafficking a person, forcible confinement and assault.

The investigation is sparking outrage in the community as Amber now seeks bail.

One woman, who doesn't want to be named, had strong words regarding the couple.

"They are animals, and they should be kept behind bars for the maximum amount of time that our Canadian law allows," she told CTV News at the Barrie Courthouse Wednesday.

Lauriston, a convicted sex offender according to police, faces several charges, including trafficking a person, assault and forcible confinement.

Amber is also charged with trafficking, administering a noxious substance and fraud over $5000.

She has owned Beating the Odds – an unlicensed camp for children on the autism spectrum at their Essa Township home on two acres of land – since last year.

They were both arrested a day after Lauriston defended himself on CTV News on July 18, when the OPP released a rare public safety advisory warning of his presence in the community, saying he lived at the home and had regular access to the children's camp.

"I'm not a predator. I'm not somebody who targets children. It is ridiculous what the police are doing," Lauriston said.

He admitted to running an escort service trafficking a 14-year-old girl in Mississauga in 2004.

"I was charged with living off the avails of a prostitute. I was charged with exercise control of a prostitute and procuring," Lauriston said.

He maintains the girl lied about her age.

As for his wife's business, Lauriston said he has nothing to do with the autism centre.

"Whoever is the one who gave the OPP the tip for them to get arrested, kudos. To the OPP, Nottawasaga OPP, well done," the unnamed woman told CTV News.

Lauriston returns to virtual court tomorrow from jail in Penetanguishene. Amber has a bail hearing scheduled for next week.

"I'm in the process of being retained for the matter, and the matter has been adjourned, and we're just getting the information right now about the case," said Robert Ratusny, who appeared as Amber's defence lawyer Wednesday.

"I can't say too much about it because I don't have the information. I know that the Crown Attorney is putting together a bail package, and we're going to go forward with that."

A publication ban has been imposed, protecting any evidence heard in court from being reported. 

However, the OPP confirmed children of the Beating the Odds camp were not victims in this investigation.

The allegations against the Maloneys have not been tested in court. Top Stories

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