Victoria, BC – Detectives with VicPD’s Special Victims Unit worked to combat human trafficking in Victoria with “Project No More” in mid-June.
The goal of “Project No More” was to combat human trafficking by connecting with those who may be at-risk of being trafficked for sexual exploitation. The officers focused on meeting with potential victims to offer resources and assistance. The project also focused on gathering information related to human trafficking in Victoria.
“Project No More” took a victim-centered approach, with a primary focus on support for potential victims of exploitation and awareness about available resources. The project involved officers working in plainclothes out of a local hotel. The officers contacted sex-trade workers through a website advertising escort services, posing as a “John”, and set up meetings at the hotel. The officers were accompanied by a social worker for their meetings.
In total, the officers met with eight sex-trade workers. Some of the women were visiting Victoria from as far east as Montreal and Toronto. This is not uncommon, as many victims of sexual exploitation travel on a circuit of major cities throughout Canada. The youngest woman the officers spoke with was eighteen-years-old.
Upon arrival, the women were all immediately advised that they were free to leave and were under no obligation to speak with police. The majority of these women remained in the hotel room and spoke with the officers. The officers established contact with these women, provided information about support resources, and provided bags containing toiletries, clothes, and gift cards to obtain basic items.
Detectives with VicPD’s Special Victims Unit are asking the public to be aware that human trafficking is present in Victoria. If you suspect that someone is the victim of human trafficking, or have information about an incident, please call VicPD’s non-emergency line at (250) 995-7654, extension 1. To report what you know anonymously, please call Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.