Winnipeg, Manitoba – The Counter Exploitation Unit (CEU) is part of the Winnipeg Police Service’s Specialized Investigation Division committed to the protection of those involved in the sex trade, as well as the enforcement of individuals who exploit vulnerable members of the community for sexual services.
The offence of Human Trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation, harbouring, exercising control, direction or influence over a person’s movements to exploit that person, typically through sexual exploitation or forced labour. Victims may not realize they are being trafficked or believe they can stop their involvement when they want to. Exiting human trafficking can prove difficult as the offenders typically use force, threats, coercion, deception and fraud to violate their victims’ human rights.
In many cases, victims are lured (recruited) with the promise of making easy cash in exchange for providing sexual services. The trafficker often uses advertisements on internet sites to set up meetings for the victims, orchestrating sexual services for hire. Although the victims are promised income for their services, the portion of money they receive is minuscule compared to what the trafficker takes.
Between 2019 and 2021, the Counter Exploitation Unit entered a long-term investigation dubbed “Project Bluff” in response to an individual who recruited and directed females to provide sexual services for hire.
CEU identified two victims who provided details of their recruitment (by the same male) to work as escorts. The trafficker posted photos of the victims in the form of internet advertisements that initially offered massage services and eventually transitioned to them providing sexual services.
In April 2021, CEU, with the assistance of WPS support units, executed search warrants at three rental properties in Winnipeg used for Human Trafficking.
As a result of this investigation, one adult male was taken into custody, and more than $42,000 in Canadian currency was seized. Throughout the investigation, CEU met with many other individuals potentially exploited in this human trafficking ring.
A 33-year-old male, Ferosh TAILOR of Winnipeg, was charged with the following offences:
– Procuring Person to Provide Sexual Services x 2
– Advertising Sexual Services
– Material Benefit from Sexual Services
– Sexual Assault
In May 2022, TAILOR was sentenced to three years in custody for the charge of Material Benefit from Sexual Services.
“Project Bluff” is the first Human Trafficking investigation of its kind in Manitoba to produce such a substantial sentence.
The Winnipeg Police Service is committed to protecting all individuals in the community who are vulnerable to the sex trade and human trafficking.
Project Bluff – Human Trafficking Investigation: R20-57673
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