Victoria Police say they have been working to combat human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation with “Project No More.”
In the month of June, detectives with the Special Victims Unit focused on information gathering and meeting potential victims to offer resources and assistance.
Plainclothes officers stationed themselves at a local hotel and contacted sex-trade workers through website advertising services, posing as potential clients.
Social workers accompanied officers to the arranged meetings to raise awareness and offer available resources.
The sex-trade workers were all immediately informed upon arrival that they were free to leave and were under no obligation to speak with officers.
Police say the majority chose to stay and were provided with bags containing toiletries, clothes, and gift cards for basic items, in addition to information resources.
The officers met with eight sex-trade workers, some of whom were visiting Victoria from as far east as Montreal and Toronto.
Police say this is not uncommon as many victims of sexual exploitation travel on a circuit of major cities across Canada.
VicPD says the youngest of the workers was 18 years old.
Detectives are asking the public to be aware of the ongoing issue of human trafficking in Victoria, and say that anyone who wishes to report information about a suspected incident can call the VicPD non-emergency line at (250) 995-7654.
Those wishing to report anonymously can do so by calling Greater Victoria Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.