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Thursday, August 27, 2015
News Release - Winnipeg Police Service
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Project Create On November 8th, 2013 Chief Devon Clunis announced the Winnipeg Police Service's new strategy in relation to sex trade activity in the city of Winnipeg.
Central to this new strategy was a shift away from the traditional law enforcement perspective in which vulnerable women were previously criminalized by being arrested. The Service no longer pursues criminal charges against individuals who are being exploited in the sex trade and with the formation of the Counter Exploitation Team (CET) a more compassionate approach was taken.
The mandate of the CET is to directly engage with women in the sex trade, with a view to improving safety, providing supports, and offering referrals to our partners in the community. The ultimate goal of the CET is to assist individuals in finding the supports they need and an opportunity to exit the sex trade.
Since the implementation of this new strategy, sex trade related enforcement has been focused squarely on those who are engaged in the exploitation of women in the sex trade including the "exploiters", human traffickers, pimps, and sexual predators that target these vulnerable persons on a regular basis.
In keeping with this new strategy, on August 10th, 2015 members of the Winnipeg Police Service Counter Exploitation Unit (CEU) and the Missing Persons Unit collaborated with Community Support Unit members from Divisions 11 and 13 on an initiative designated as Project Create.
This initiative is a multi-faceted approach to combatting the sex trade activity in the city of Winnipeg.
In total, 26 adult men ranging in age from 19-77 years were arrested and charged with Obtaining Sexual Services for Consideration, and a total of 18 vehicles were seized. In addition, another 10 adult males were identified and interviewed by officers in areas of the city that are known for sex trade related activity.
In addition to the enforcement activities, members of the Counter Exploitation Team (CET) worked in conjunction with the other units by directly engaging with women found to be working in the sex trade. The CET identified and interviewed 39 women ranging in age from 18-49 years during the project, and in doing so provided them with information regarding various support services that are offered by our various partners in the community.
The Counter Exploitation Unit and our Uniform Operational Divisions are committed to addressing community concerns related to the visible sex trade, working toward sustainable solutions, and Creating a Culture of Safety.
Everyone has a role to play in helping to address this issue. If you have information regarding sex trade issues in your community, please contact the Counter Exploitation Unit at 204-986-3464. You can also fill out the online Prostitution Complaint Form by visiting the Winnipeg Police Service website at www.winnipeg.ca/police.
For further information contact either: Constable Jason Michalyshen, Public Information Officer Constable Eric Hofley, Public Information Officer Kelly Dehn, Manager of Public Affairs