Three Grande Prairie suspects have been arrested for human trafficking offences after a Toronto woman was allegedly forced into working in the sex trade.
ALERT’s Human Trafficking unit alleges the three suspects forced the woman into working in the sex trade and under the threat of violence. The victim was recruited via social media and was coerced into relocating from Toronto under the pretenses of a legitimate job.
Once she traveled to Grande Prairie she was forced into the sex trade and her money withheld in order to pay back the travel expenses she was fronted.
In May 2023, the woman managed to escape the group’s control and contacted the Toronto Police Service.
“The best advice would be to know who you’re talking to and what you’re getting yourself into. If people are offering you deals that seem too good to be true, ask questions. If they’re offering to buy you plane tickets and fly you across the country, ask for details and find out the facts. Understand what is going to be expected of you,” said Staff Sgt. Chris Hayes, ALERT Human Trafficking.
On September 19, 2023 the three suspects were arrested with the help of Grande Prairie RCMP. Two homes were also searched and ALERT seized cash, a truck, and over $30,000 worth of cocaine.
Romeo Spence, 23 years old, was charged with trafficking a persons, procuring, material benefit from trafficking a person, uttering threats, and possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking.
Andre Wright, 46 years old, was charged with trafficking a persons, procuring, uttering threats, possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, possession of proceeds of crime, and possession of another person’s identity.
Hipai Bangisa, 29 years old, was charged with trafficking a persons, procuring, possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of proceeds of crime.
All three were released from custody. Bangisa and Wright are scheduled to appear in court on October 23, 2033 and Spence is scheduled to appear in court on November 2, 2023.
Survivors of sex trafficking can call 211 for help.
Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.
Information provided by ALERT
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