43 charges laid in Toronto human trafficking case
A second teenage victim has come forward in a Toronto human trafficking case in which three people were charged last month.
Two young men and a young woman were arrested at the end of February when a hotel noise complaint led to the discovery of a teen who said she was being forced into prostitution.
On Feb. 27, a security guard responded to a noise complaint at a hotel in the Bay Street and Dundas Street West area, where he found a 14-year-old girl. The girl told police she was "invited" to the hotel by three people, who then allegedly forced her to provide sexual services over the course of a week.
She earned a large sum of money after meeting with clients who responded to online ads, but was forced to turn over all the money to the suspects, police said. She was also confined to the room.
Following media coverage, Toronto police said a second victim came forward with a similar story.
A 16-year-old told police she had been picked up somewhere outside of the city, and driven to a Toronto hotel. She was confined in a hotel room for two days, forced to perform sexual services, before she managed to escape, police said at a news conference Tuesday.
As a result, the same suspects in the 14-year-old's case are facing further charges, Insp. Joanna Beaven-Desjardins said.
Sage Finestone, 21, Nicholas Faria, 19, and Natasha Robataille, 18, face a combined 43 charges relating to human trafficking. All three have been released on bail, Beaven-Desjardins said.
Police believe there may be more victims.
"It is further alleged that these three accused prey on vulnerable individuals, lure them away from friends and family and control their every move. They are led to believe they're entering a world of glamour and riches, which in reality they enter into a world of severe abuse," Beaven-Desjardins said.
Dawn Harvard, vice-president of the Native Women's Association of Canada, called human trafficking a "crisis" facing girls and women, especially those in the Aboriginal community.
"Our girls are not just missing, like somebody's wallet or somebody's keys. Our girls are being stolen from our communities, from our families and from our nations."
Harvard and Covenant House team leader Michelle Anderson spoke at the conference, reminding anyone who may be in a similar situation that there are resources set up to provide support, health care and housing.
"If you reach out to us, we will be there for you."
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-7400, or Crime Stoppers at 416-222-8477 (TIPS).