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MORE THAN 300 CHARGES LAID AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING RINGS DISMANTLED IN PROJECT CONVALESCE

Posted on Wednesday October 16, 2019
Project Convalesce suspect arrested
Police arrest a suspect as a result of a multi-province human trafficking investigation called Project Convalesce

Investigators with the York Regional Police Special Victims Unit - Human Trafficking Section have laid more than 300 charges and arrested 31 people in Project Convalesce, a multi-provincial human trafficking and organized crime investigation.   

In October 2018, an investigation began into a suspected pimp, Jonathan NYANGWILA, after two female victims of human trafficking contacted police after attempting to escape. The investigation led officers to identify a number of suspects believed to be involved in a large, multi-provincial, human trafficking ring run by organized crime. This group was also involved in frauds, drug trafficking and weapons offences.

On Thursday, October 10, 2019, arrest warrants and search warrants were executed in more than 30 locations across the Greater Toronto Area and in the Province of Quebec. 

Photos and videos taken during the arrests and search warrant executions can be found here:

Through the investigation, officers identified 12 victims and determined that more than 30 women who were involved in the sex trade were associated to this group of suspects. The majority of the women came from Quebec but had been moved to Ontario and across Canada for sex trade purposes.

Despite enduring violent assaults, sexual assaults, torture and other degrading circumstances, many victims are too fearful to come forward and often deny the events completely. Officers will be continuing the work to assist these victims and connect them with support. 

“York Regional Police will continue to offer assistance and support to the victims of violent human trafficking,” said Chief Eric Jolliffe. “I commend the officers involved in this investigation for their diligent work in dismantling this organized crime ring.” 

York Regional Police would like to thank our partner agencies in this investigation - the Ontario Provincial Police, the Toronto Police Service, Peel Regional Police and The Équipe intégrée de lutte contre le proxénétisme (the Quebec Integrated Human Trafficking Task Force). 

Members of the York Regional Police Special Victims Unit - Human Trafficking Section are continuing their aggressive efforts in combating human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of women and underage girls. In many cases, victims are forced into the sex trade through violence, threats of violence, coercion and trickery.

York Regional Police is committed to investigating all incidents relating to human trafficking and providing assistance to victims. Investigators are willing to speak with anyone involved in the sex trade who may be looking for a way out or who may require assistance to escape these dangerous circumstances.

For more information please contact Corporate Communications at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 2664.