RCMP say a 19-year-old Vancouver man faces 14 charges after an investigation into a missing 16-year-old girl uncovered evidence of human trafficking.
Raimon Geday was arrested on April 9, 2019, and has been charged with exploiting a minor, advertising an offer to provide sexual services, and producing child pornography.
Police began their investigation on Jan. 6, 2019, after a 16-year-old girl was reported missing. They expanded their probe when they learned the girl was allegedly being held in Vancouver, Cpl. Elenore Sturko said in a news release.
The Surrey RCMP Serious Crime Unit took over the investigation and worked with Vancouver police to locate and safely recover the girl. Geday was not there when she was rescued, Sturko said.
Geday has since been charged with:
• Two counts of unlawfully recruiting, transporting, harbouring and exploiting an individual under the age of 18
• One count of unlawfully receiving financial benefit obtained by the commission of an offence
• One count of knowingly advertising an offer to provide sexual services
• One count of production of child pornography
• One count of possession of child pornography
• Two counts of possession of a controlled substance
• Six counts relating to firearm possession offences
“Ensuring vulnerable victims are protected from those who seek to exploit them is of the utmost importance to police,” said Supt. Elija Rain, Investigative Services Officer in the news release.
“This investigation is the result of strong police work by our Serious Crime Unit and partnerships with other police services including the Vancouver Police Department.”
A publication ban has been put in place to protect the victim’s identity. Police say they can’t provide more details.
The Global Slavery Index reports that trafficking within Canada for the purpose of sexual exploitation is the the most common form of modern slavery detected by authorities here.
Of sex trafficking victims who are identified, 93 per cent are Canadian citizens, however, the organization notes that statistic may not reflect the actual proportion of foreign victims, who may not report to authorities for various reasons.
Most forced sexual exploitation cases in Canada are reported in the Greater Toronto Area, according to The Global Slavery Index.
Statistics Canada said last year that there were 1,099 police-reported incidents involving a human-trafficking offence between 2009 and 2016 , and the number has been climbing steadily since 2010.
Most victims were woman (95 per cent) and 70 per cent were women under the age of 25. Most offenders were male (81 per cent) and 66 per cent of those accused of an offence between 2009 and 2016 were men aged 18 to 34.
“Just over half (51%) of human trafficking incidents from 2009 to 2016 involved at least one other violation,” according to Statistics Canada.
“Among the majority (89%) of these incidents, human trafficking was the most serious offence in the incident. Secondary violations often involved a prostitution-related offence.”
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019