Johns arrested, cars seized during Winnipeg police anti-exploitation blitz

Winnipeg police and community resource groups ran a joint project aimed at protecting at-risk youth March 16-18. File / Global News

A weekend crackdown on sexual exploitation by Winnipeg police led to multiple arrests of men trying to buy sex.

Seven men between 40 and 60-years-of-age were picked up for purchasing sexual services.

Police also seized five cars believed to be tied to prostitution and brought seven youths to safe spaces.

Some 80 known hang-outs for at-risk youth were checked, and workers handed out dozens of harm reduction kits along with food and clothes.

Project Return was a collaboration between the Winnipeg Police Service Counter Exploitation Unit, Missing Person’s Unit, East District Community Support, and community outreach including StreetReach, Winnipeg Outreach Network, Resources Assistance for Youth (RAY) and the Bear Clan Patrol.

RELATED: Manitoba’s Stop Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Week marks decade

The joint project March 16-18 marked the end of Stop Child Sexual Exploitation Awareness Week in Manitoba.

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The annual observation was first declared in 2008 by the province to promote awareness about the sexual exploitation of children.

The Manitoba government acknowledges child sexual exploitation as the act of coercing a child under the age of 18 into a sexual act in exchange for money, drugs, shelter, food, protection or other basic necessities.

Government funding supports training, outreach programs and enforcement in an ongoing effort to protect youth who are at risk of exploitation.

-with files from Shannon Cuciz and Jeff Braun

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