Local police target sex slavery as part of Operation Northern Spotlight
Police in 30 centres across Canada have cooperated in a crackdown on women and youth being forced into sex work.
The two-day operation comes after a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada to throw out federal laws on prostitution. Charges against six Moncton men were dropped as a result of the decision.
Police are now turning their attention to human trafficking, or sex slavery.
Officers raided hotels and motels in 30 Canadian centres on Jan. 22 and 23 as part of Operation Northern Spotlight.
Police say they interviewed more than 330 women – some as young as 15 years old – and found that some of the women were being forced to perform sexual acts, several times a day, for paying male customers.
Investigators say, while some of the women appeared to be making their own decisions to participate for financial gain, others were being forced to perform sex acts through threats of violence, physical intimidation, drug dependency and other forms of coercion.
While the laws surrounding consensual adult prostitution are in legal limbo, police warn activity involving children or coercion remains a serious crime.
Police in Halifax and Saint John participated in the operation.