Three Canadian teenage girls face human trafficking charges for forcing their underage peers, ages 13 to 17, into prostitution, the Ottawa Citizen reported.
The girls allegedly lured victims to a public housing complex through social media, CNN reported. They then beat the girls and drove them to other locations in the city, where they were forced into sex acts with adult clients, police said.
Two 15-year-old girls have been taken into custody on multiple charges including human trafficking, procuring, forcible confinement, assault, sexual assault, robbery, abduction and uttering threats. Police are still hunting for a third suspect, a 17-year-old female. One of the accused faces additional charges of administering a noxious substance.
Police believe the girls acted on their own initiative and were not led by an adult, Staff Sgt. John McGetrick said. “It’s shocking, quite frankly,” McGetrick told the Ottawa Citizen. “We asked the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who take the lead on human-trafficking, and they didn’t know of any similar case in Canada.”
Also surfacing today was news from California on a new measure to impose harsher punishment on sex traffickers, reported CBS San Francisco. The Californians Against Sexual Exploitation (CASE) Act requires 800,000 signatures to place the initiative on the state’s November 2012 ballot. “I am outraged that so few traffickers are actually prosecuted,” said Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, a supporter of the Act.
The CASE Act, if approved, will increase possible prison terms for human traffickers, raise punitive fines and require traffickers to register as sex offenders. The Act would also improve protection provisions for victims, such as forbidding the use of a victim’s sexual history to press criminal charges.
In a related video, CNN follows the Anaheim Police Department on sting operations in which police officers act as clients, setting up meetings with the prostitutes in hotel rooms. They then coerce the girls for information to track down their pimps.
Read Indian Country Today Media Network’s articles on the invisible yet rampant issue of sex trafficking of Native women: