In a shocking case believed to be a first in Canada, Ottawa police have charged two 15-year-old girls with forcing other girls into prostitution.
Police are seeking a third female suspect who is 17, making this alleged ring of pimps almost unheard of in its under-age, all-girl makeup.
“Shocking is a great word, because that was our reaction,” said Staff Sgt. John McGetrick of the Ottawa Police. He added that local officers have never seen anything like it, nor have their counterparts across the country — including the RCMP.
Police allege the three victims, ranging in age from 13 to 17, were lured to a residence in a public housing development in southeast Ottawa on three separate occasions in May and June for what were billed as innocent social reasons, but then were driven to other locations for the purposes of prostitution.
The suspects are too young to be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, but they face multiple charges including human trafficking, robbery, procuring, forcible confinement, sexual assault, assault, uttering threats and abduction.
Police have said there is no indication any men, or known pimps, or gang members or anyone else at all was involved.
“When you think of human trafficking and the stereotypes that go with it, right or wrong, you don’t think of three young-offender girls,” McGetrick told CTV Ottawa, adding the suspects may have had connections on social media websites. The mother of one of the accused girls told the TV station she would have known if anyone was being held at their house.