January 28, 2019 1:41 pm

Man and woman arrested in human-trafficking probe across southern Ontario

Brian Hubert Richards, 36, and Jennifer Sczembora, 37, were arrested in a human-trafficking investigation.

Toronto Police Handout
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Toronto police have arrested a man and a woman in connection with an investigation into human trafficking across southern Ontario.

Officers allege that on New Year’s Eve of 2018, a 27-year-old woman met with a man in Toronto who introduced himself to her as “Nekko.” After being introduced to the woman accused, police said the victim was taken to a mall where lingerie items were purchased for her.

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Police said the young woman was allegedly taken to a hotel where she was coerced into wearing the lingerie and posing for photos which were posted on Leolist.com, advertising her sexual services.

Police said the man and woman would then pose as the 27-year-old victim online, setting up “dates” with potential clients and dictating “what sexual services were to be provided, for how long and how much money to collect.”

READ MORE: Toronto police arrest alleged ringleader of international sex trafficking operation

The 27-year-old was allegedly forced to provide these services against her will at several hotels in southern Ontario between Jan. 1 and Jan. 14. Police said all of her personal items and money were also confiscated by the man and woman.

On Tuesday, Jan. 22, officers carried out a search warrant in Toronto, and both the man and woman were arrested.

Brian Hubert Richards, 36, of Toronto, and Jennifer Sczembora, 37, of Alberta, are each facing nine charges which include trafficking in persons by recruiting, advertising another person’s sexual services, uttering threats and receiving material benefit.

READ MORE: Two people charged, one wanted in Toronto human trafficking investigation

They both appeared in court last Wednesday, Jan. 23.

Police say they are concerned there may be other victims and encourage those who may have been affected to come forward.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-7474, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477).

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