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13 men charged after allegedly meeting minors at a Niagara Falls hotel for sexual services

Police have charged 13 men who allegedly engaged with young persons online and met them at a hotel in Niagara Falls for sexual services.

The arrests were part of a Niagara Regional Police Service-led (NRPS) project that targeted individuals who used the internet to communicate with and meet minors they believed were offering sexual services for money.

Detectives in NRPS’s human trafficking, internet child exploitation, child abuse, and domestic violence units in conjunction with the Ontario Provincial Police’s Anti-Human Trafficking Intelligence Led Joint Force Strategy and with the assistance of multiple police and law enforcement agencies, including OPP Border Enforcement Security Team, Canada Border Services Agency, Department of Homeland Security (USA), and Royal Canadian Mounted Police, arrested the suspects between Jan. 31 and Feb. 3.

The accused, whom police have not named, range in age from 20 to 60 and reside in either Niagara Falls, Niagara on the Lake, St. Catharines, Thorold, Welland, Windsor, or Buffalo, New York.

They have all have been criminally charged with luring a child for the purpose of obtaining sexual services, obtaining sexual services for consideration from a person under 18 years, and invite/counsel, sexual exploitation of a young person.

The accused were held in custody and attended video bail hearings.

“These arrests showcase the dedication of our members in ensuring some of the most vulnerable members of our community are protected, sending a strong message that the predatory behaviours associated with human trafficking will not be tolerated in Niagara,” Niagara Regional Police Service Chief Bill Fordy said in a Feb. 13 news release.

“We are committed to fighting human trafficking through intelligence-gathering and working cooperatively with law enforcement and community partners to support victims and enforcement efforts. Integrated resources, the sharing of information, a victim-centred approach and community partnerships are crucial to law enforcement’s effective response to this kind of crime.”

The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information is asked to contact investigating officers at 905-688-4111, option 3, extension 1009544, or Crime Stoppers anonymously.