Police taking aim at human trafficking crimes

Waterloo Regional Police last week arrested a 21-year-old Kitchener man as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged human trafficking.

A second suspect, also a 21-year-old Kitchener male, remains outstanding.

The investigation began after police received information that two males allegedly trafficked the victim throughout Canada. As a result of the investigation, the arrested man has been charged with: ‘material benefit,’ ‘procuring,’ ‘point firearm’ and ‘careless use of a firearm.’ Both males are jointly charged with ‘human trafficking’ and ‘advertise sexual services.’

The victim has been provided with a safety plan and community resources as part of the Human Trafficking Crisis Intervention program.

Anyone with information relating to this incident, or anyone with information concerning potential human trafficking victims, are encouraged to contact the Joint Waterloo-Guelph Human Trafficking team at intel.ht@wrps.on.ca or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

More widely, June saw the kickoff of a human trafficking awareness campaign  by Ontario Provincial Police. The Wellington County OPP, Crime Stoppers Guelph Wellington and Victim Services Wellington partnered together to create #HTinWC and will work towards a shared goal of creating awareness concerning human trafficking in the rural communities, police said in a release.

Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation or harbouring of persons for the purposes of exploitation. It does not require the crossing of borders or any movement of persons. Exploitation is the key element of the offence.

More information about the human trafficking initiative can be found at www.htinwc.com.

JUNE 11

8:42 PM | Waterloo Regional Police responded to a Snyders Flats Road, Bloomingdale address in response to a report of property damage. The victim reported that a dark-coloured Dodge Charger entered the parking lot and began doing donuts behind her vehicle. As a result, rocks and debris struck the victims vehicle, causing damage. The investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact police at 519-570-9777 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

10:58 PM | Police responded to Chilligo Road in Woolwich Township for a single-vehicle collision.  The complainant reported swerving out of the way for oncoming traffic that allegedly crossed the center line. As a result, the complainant lost control and left the roadway, striking a tree. No one was injured.

JUNE 13

12:20 PM | A 33-year-old Mapleton Township man drowned at Conestogo Lake after trying to assist a child who’d fallen overboard from a boat. Wellington County OPP, Mapleton Fire/Rescue and Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Services responded to a report of a possible drowning on Conestogo Lake in Mapleton Township. It was reported that a child went in the water from a boat. The victim jumped in the water and attempted to assist the child. Witnesses were able to pull the child safely from the water, however, the victim failed to resurface. At approximately 8:45 p.m., members of the OPP Underwater Search and Recovery Unit recovered the body of the missing man. Matthew Reynold Ottens was pronounced deceased at the scene.

JUNE 14

11:24 AM | Waterloo Regional Police received a report of a residential break and enter at an address on Bobolink Place in Woolwich. Sometime between 7 a.m., and 10 a.m., the complainant reported that an unknown individual entered his residence. Nothing appears to be taken. The investigation remains ongoing. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact police at 519-570-9777 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

JUNE 16

Emergency crews responded to Shantz Station Road north of Hwy. 7 Wednesday morning after a vehicle left the roadway and struck a tree. No injuries were reported.

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