22 Greater Toronto Area men arrested in juvenile prostitution investigation

A file photo of a York Regional Police patch. Nathalie Madore / The Canadian Press / File

TORONTO – York Regional Police have arrested 22 men from the Greater Toronto Area in connection to a juvenile prostitution investigation.

The police department’s Drugs and Vice Unit made the arrests during a four-day blitz between Nov. 2 to 5 that targeted offenders who attempted to solicit the services of underage prostitutes.

York police said the investigation was part of a larger operation nicknamed Project Raphael which focused on the exploitation of girls advertised online.

The suspects face more than 65 charges including luring a child for the purpose of obtaining sexual services for consideration from a person under 18, agreement or arrangement to obtain sexual services for consideration from a person under 18 and obtaining sexual services for consideration from a person under 18.

READ MORE: 47 charged with 135 offences in Canada-wide human trafficking crackdown

Those convicted can be sentenced to a minimum of 90 days in prison and up to a maximum of 10 years.

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Police say the majority of underage girls committing sexual acts for money are doing so against their will and are often victims of crime through violence, threats of violence, coercion and trickery.

Authorities are also warning the public that people purchasing or attempting to purchase sexual services from underage girls are victimizing and exploiting young woman and girls.

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