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3rd suspect charged in Toronto-Montreal human trafficking investigation

Lawrence Mikaelian, 28, of Toronto, faces 14 charges in relation to the human trafficking investigation. Toronto Police Service/Handout

TORONTO — Police have charged a third suspect in connection with a human trafficking investigation.

Toronto police began their investigation in Dec. 2014, when a 19-year-old woman met a man in Montreal and was allegedly recruited into the sex trade.

Police alleged she was transported between Toronto and Montreal for prostitution and was beaten and sexually assaulted numerous times.

The woman’s identification and money were taken and she was also “physically restrained,” according to police, and prevented from seeking medical attention for her injuries.

Police said she was also allegedly forced to perform sexual acts.

Police have identified the two men and woman involved in the investigation.

Albert Markareh, 29, of Toronto, has been charged with:

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  • Trafficking in Persons
  • Receive material benefit resulting from trafficking in persons
  • Two counts of exercise control
  • Trafficking in persons – withhold travel documents
  • Assault
  • Receive material benefit from sexual service
  • Sexual assault
  • Participate in criminal organization

Iman, Ben Youssef, 21, of Toronto, has been charged with:

  • Trafficking in persons
  • Receive material benefit resulting from trafficking in persons
  • Two counts of exercise control
  • Trafficking in persons – withhold travel documents
  • Receive material benefit from sexual service

In January 2015, both appeared in court in Toronto, but police said one suspect remained outstanding.

On Thursday officers issued a search warrant at an address where the suspect was believed to be.

Police said during the execution of the warrant, a large quantity of drugs was discovered.

Lawrence Mikaelian, 28, of Toronto, has been charged with:

  • Trafficking in persons
  • Receive material benefit resulting from trafficking in persons
  • Two counts of exercise control
  • Trafficking in persons – withhold travel documents
  • Assault
  • Receive material benefit from sexual service
  • Sexual assault
  • Possession of cocaine
  • Possession for the purpose of trafficking methamphetamine
  • Possession for the purpose of trafficking cannabis
  • Possession of the proceeds of crime
  • Possession for the purpose of trafficking hashish
  • Possession for the purpose of trafficking MDMA

Mikaelian appeared in court in Toronto on Friday. Police believe there may be other victims.

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Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-7474, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at http://www.222tips.com, or by texting TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).

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