More than 100 men accused of purchasing prostituted children have been arrested after a multi-year investigation in York Region.
"We used undercover operators for this investigation and once they were told that they were speaking with children for the most part the men would stop and we were OK with that, we really didn't want to identify any of the men that were not looking to purchase and to buy prostituted children".
The men charged range in age from 18 to 71 years old, police said, adding that 19 men believed they were buying sex from a 13- or 14-year-old girl.
Truong said the York force has a three-pronged approach to human trafficking: targeting the traffickers themselves who force women and girls to perform sex for money, rescuing the victims and stopping the demand for sex with children.
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Detective Sergeant Thai Truong of the human trafficking team said no girls were injured in the operation of online sexual services for girls aged 13-16.
He said child sex trafficking is a growing problem in Canada.
"The world of human trafficking is an ugly world", he said.
Investigators are willing to speak with anyone involved in the sex trade who may be looking for a way out from these risky circumstances but "The biggest challenge for us when we're dealing with prostituted children is that enlisting their co-operation is very, very hard".
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"Young lives are irreparably damaged, some completely destroyed and other lost completely".
Truong said the most hard part of the investigation was gaining the trust of the victims.
Const. Andy Pattenden credited investigators for their work on the investigation.
York Regional Police also requested anyone with further information contact their office at 1-866-876-5423, ext.7817, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
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