October 18, 2016
At yesterday's International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Conference in San Diego, RCMP representatives discussed Canada's success in the fifth edition of Operation Northern Spotlight. Operation Northern Spotlight is a Canadian law enforcement outreach operation that proactively targets vulnerable persons in the sex trade industry in an effort to identify and assist them as they may be at risk of human trafficking.
This year's Operation Northern Spotlight took place between October 11 and 15, coinciding with a similar operation in the United States entitled Operation Cross Country. In Canada, 334 interviews took place, with a total of 16 individuals removed from exploitative situations.
RCMP Assistant Commissioner Todd Shean of Federal Policing Special Services states, "The RCMP is pleased to have co-led this year's Operation with the OPP and to have the opportunity to work alongside partners once again in order to both educate and protect citizens from this heinous crime."
Deputy Commissioner Rick Barnum, OPP Investigations and Organized Crime reiterated, "Canada's police leaders remain committed to fighting human trafficking through intelligence-gathering, working with our law enforcement and community partners to support victims, and continuing our enforcement efforts. Operation Northern Spotlight models the successes that all police services can achieve when we work together and coordinate our limited resources."
In 2014, the first edition of Operation Northern Spotlight involved the participation of two RCMP officers. The Operation has grown and in 2016, this edition had 53 police partners involved across nine provinces. The increased participation across Canada since 2014 speaks to the increasing priority that Canadian law enforcement is placing on the global problem of human trafficking.
The RCMP is responsible for managing The Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre, which was established at RCMP Headquarters in Ottawa in 2005. Between 2005 and 2015, the Centre identified 308 human trafficking cases where human trafficking-specific charges have been laid. Of those cases, 93% involved domestic human trafficking.
The RCMP would like to thank the OPP and our Canadian and US law enforcement partners for their assistance in another successful edition of Operation Northern Spotlight.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
National Media Relations
Ontario Provincial Police
Sgt. Peter Leon, Provincial Media Coordinator
The following police services participated in this edition of Operation Northern Spotlight:
Amherstburg Police Service, Akwesasne Police Service, Barrie Police Service, Brantford Police Service, Brockville Police Service, Chatham-Kent Police Service, Cobourg Police Service, Cornwall Community Police Service, Durham Regional Police Service, Gananoque Police Service, Guelph Police Service, Halton Regional Police Service, Hamilton Police Service, City of Kawartha Lakes Police Service, Kingston Police Service, LaSalle Police Service, London Police Service, Midland Police Service, Niagara Regional Police Service, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Orangeville Police Service, Ottawa Police Service, Peel Regional Police Service, Peterborough Police Service, Port Hope Police Service, Rama Police Service, Sarnia Police Service, Six Nations Police Service, St. Thomas Police Service, Stratford Police Service, Greater Sudbury Police Service, Toronto Police Service, Waterloo Regional Police Service, Windsor Police Service, and York Regional Police.
Other Police Services/Agencies (17)
Brandon Police Service, Charlottetown Police Service, Calgary Police Service, Cape Breton Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, Service de Police de la Ville de Gatineau, Service de Police de Repentigny, Service de Police de Lévis, Halifax Regional Police Service, Medicine Hat Police Service, Saskatoon Police Service, Regina Police Service, Saint John City Police Service, Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, Service de Police de Ville de Québec, Winnipeg Police Service, Sûreté du Québec
- RCMP Calgary Federal Policing South Intake Unit
- RCMP Fort McMurray
- RCMP Drayton Valley
- RCMP Eskasoni
- RCMP Human Trafficking Coordination Centre (Ottawa)
- RCMP K Div Serious Crime
- RCMP Kare Unit
- RCMP Carlyle
- RCMP Codiac
- RCMP H Div Integrated Halifax Vice
- RCMP Charlottetown
- RCMP Sarnia
- RCMP Saskatchewan Integrated Organized Crime (IOCN)
- RCMP B Division
- RCMP E Division Major Crime/Federal Serious and Organized Crime
- RCMP C Division
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was also involved in this Operation.