May 10, 2019 1:59 pm
Updated: May 11, 2019 11:23 am

34 charges laid in Edmonton human trafficking investigation

WATCH ABOVE: Two people from Edmonton - Michael Moffat, 24, and Louisa Wallis, 25 - were charged with several trafficking offences. Sarah Kraus has the details.

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A man and woman are facing dozens of charges in connection to a human trafficking investigation that police said involved a teenager in the sex trade.

In February, police apprehended a 15-year-old girl after police and the human trafficking and exploitation unit became aware she was allegedly getting involved in the sex trade.

READ MORE: Edmonton police looking for human trafficking suspect

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An investigation revealed that between December 2018 and March 2019, a man and woman recruited, procured and trafficked the 15-year-old and another 16-year-old girl from a home in central Edmonton, according to police.

“Human trafficking isn’t always an elaborate, organized operation like you see in the movies; it can be two people exploiting victims in a residence or hotel room next door,” Det. Dan Duiker said.

“If you notice unusual or suspicious activity, report it to police. A dispute between a couple could be much more than meets the eye. Your report could save a vulnerable youth from going down a path they can’t escape.”

READ MORE: ‘Modern day slavery’: Why human trafficking often flies under the radar in Canada

Louisa Wallis, 25, and Michael Moffat, 24, are facing a total of 34 charges.

Wallis has been charged with 20 offences, including two counts each of trafficking of a person under 18 years old, sexual assault of a person under 16 years old, agreement or arrangement of sexual offences against a child and making child pornography.

Moffat has been charged with 14 offences, including two counts each of trafficking of a person under 18 years old and making child pornography, as well as sexual assault of a person under 16 years old.

READ MORE: Edmonton police charge youth with human trafficking

Detectives said there could be others who were victimized by the accused. Anyone with information is asked to contact Edmonton police at 780-423-4567 or Crime Stoppers.

According to police, signs of human trafficking and sexual exploitation can include people coming and going at unusual hours, introducing young males and females who didn’t live there before, evasive behaviour on the part of both the trafficker and the victim, evidence of drug use, physical or emotional abuse, withdrawing from friends or family or unexplained new clothing or valuables.

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