Apr 25, 2017 @ 12:36
Additional charges have been laid after Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) issued an appeal for potential human trafficking victims to come forward.
Earlier this month, an Oro-Medonte Township resident was charged with 21 criminal offences, including two charges related to human trafficking. At a news conference in Orillia today, Detective Staff Sergeant Scott MOORE of the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) said two additional victims have been identified by investigators in the past two weeks.
58-year-old Isaac “Ike” CROOKS is further charged with:
- Sexual Assault
- Trafficking of a Person (two counts)
- Obtain Sexual Services for Consideration
- Material Benefit – Trafficking
The accused remains in custody following an appearance at the Ontario Court of Justice in Barrie. A bail hearing will take place at a date and location to be determined. A court-imposed publication ban remains in place which restricts further details from being released.
At the news conference, Inspector Tina CHALK of the Electronic Crime Section – which supports and coordinates major crime investigators – outlined the OPP’s victim-centred approach in the area of human trafficking. CHALK was accompanied by the Director of the Provincial Anti-Human Trafficking Coordination Office Jennifer RICHARDSON, Orillia OPP Detachment Commander Inspector Pat MORRIS, Dave HOSSACK – Interim Executive Director of Child Advocacy Centre of Simcoe/Muskoka, and Frances YARBROUGH – Executive Director of North Simcoe Victim Services.
Investigators believe there may be additional child and adult victims who were forced into the sex trade against their will. The Orillia OPP Crime Unit is continuing to investigate these incidents and has established a tip line for potential victims to come forward. Anyone having any information about similar offences involving the accused is asked to please call the Orillia OPP at 705-326-3536 or the tip line at 1-844-677-5050. You can also submit your tip to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online at www.crimestopperssdm.com .
“Human trafficking victims are often from extremely vulnerable populations. These victims rarely identify themselves to authorities. The OPP remains committed to fighting human trafficking through intelligence-gathering and working with our partners to support and refer victims to appropriate community-based resources for assistance.” – Inspector Tina CHALK, Manager – OPP Electronic Crime Section
“Enhancing positive community partnerships and continuing our enforcement efforts are critical to effectively respond to this kind of crime. We also want to demonstrate that victims of human trafficking can be found anywhere in Ontario. Sadly, smaller and rural communities are not immune.” – Inspector Pat MORRIS, Commander – OPP Orillia Detachment.
About the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) - The Ontario Provincial Police is one of North America's largest deployed police services with more than 6,200 uniformed officers, 3,100 civilian employees and 800 Auxiliary officers. They provide essential services that ensure the safety and security of the people of the Province of Ontario.