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Edmonton Police Service

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2017 a busy year for EPS Human Trafficking & Exploitation Unit

For Immediate Release:19-Jan-2018 @ 10:46 AM
MRU #:18R005

Members of the EPS Human Trafficking and Exploitation Unit continue to vigorously enforce the laws surrounding the sex trade industry, arresting and charging 295 johns in our city in 2017, a dramatic increase over the previous year.

“That translates into a 184 per cent increase over our 2016 arrest numbers,” says HT&E Staff Sgt. Dale Johnson, referring to the 104 johns charged last year. “These individuals are directly contributing to the ongoing exploitation of girls and women, and that’s something we’re committed to enforcing the laws around.”

Of the 295 johns charged last year, 156 of those arrests were made as a result of online advertising, a trend Staff Sgt. Johnson anticipates will continue to grow.

“Street level sex trade workers still exist in our city, though to a smaller degree. Many things are sold online these days, and sexual services are no different. Sadly, it has become the playground for a lot of illegal activity; hence, that’s where many of our investigations take place.”

In 2017, HT&E investigators also continued to see escorts travel to Edmonton from Quebec, a trend first identified by detectives during the oil boom several years ago.

“In 2017, a majority of the 200 interactions our detectives had with escorts were from Quebec,” explained Johnson. “It’s a fly in, fly out market. While the slowdown of the oil industry may have temporarily impacted the economy, there is still a healthy level of disposable income here, which seemingly attracts sex trade workers to our area.”

Johnson noted, his detectives will continue to “aggressively investigate all forms of human trafficking and sexual exploitation in 2018 with a broader investigative approach that will include social media.

“Notwithstanding, if you’re an executive of a large company or someone that works in retail…if you’re involved in exploiting anyone for paid sex, you could  end up with a criminal record, lose your job and/or your family. It’s not worth the risk.”

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Please contact Scott Pattison at (780) 421-3553 for more information.

"Dedicated to Protect, Proud to Serve"