** UPDATE - APRIL 23, 2015 **
Another individual, Tao YANG, 35, was arrested in Toronto on April 21.
Seven accused will appear in court on April 29 after new charges were filed under section 467.12 of the Criminal Code (gangsterism).
The accused are:
Montréal, April 1, 2015 – Two major cells of a Canada-wide prostitution ring were disrupted between March 27 and April 1, 2015 in the wake of an investigation targeting an Asian-based international criminal organization that is allegedly involved in the smuggling of young women into Canada for sexual exploitation through various bawdy-houses.
As part of an investigation dubbed Project Confidence, investigators of the RCMP Immigration and Passport Section conducted a three-step operation in the Greater Montréal and Toronto areas, resulting in six arrests and sixteen searches.
It is alleged that the victims, who are mainly from Korea and China, received assistance from the criminal organization to enter Canada illegally via land crossings or with visas obtained through false pretenses. Upon entering Canada, the victims were taken over, controlled and exploited by a prostitution ring operating Canada-wide (Halifax, Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver).
Investigators arrested several key players as well as the main leaders of this criminal organization. The accused will face a number of charges under the Criminal Code, including:
The accused are:
The alleged ringleaders arrested in Toronto this morning will appear at the Montréal Court House Thursday, April 2nd. The other accused, who were arrested in Montréal last March 27 and 30, appeared at the Montréal Court House earlier this week.
Also, two clients were arrested on the premises at the time the operations took place and charged with being found in a bawdy-house. They were later released on a promise to appear.
Investigators conducted sixteen searches and seized offence-related property, including:
The investigation, launched in January 2014, was conducted in partnership with the Section des Enquêtes multidisciplinaires et coordination jeunesse/équipe de moralité Nord of the Service de police de la ville de Montréal, the Canada Border Services Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Greater Toronto Area Detachment, Aéroports de Montréal Airport Security and the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada.
The RCMP works closely with its domestic and international partners to disrupt criminal organizations that facilitate human smuggling into Canada. Through its efforts to curb criminal activity at the border, the RCMP contributes to ensuring the safety of the public.
If you have information on illicit activity involving illegal immigration, contact the RCMP at 1-800-771-5401 or 514 939-8300.
Who could be a victim of sexual exploitation? Visit the Human Trafficking National Coordination Centre to learn more about the indicators.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police