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York police arrest 104 after officers pose as child sex workers

“We stopped 104 men from purchasing 104 children,” Det. Sgt. Thai Truong told a news conference Friday.

York Regional Police say an undercover operation has resulted in the arrests of dozens of men who sought to buy sex with children over the internet.

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York Regional Police say an undercover operation has resulted in the arrests of dozens of men who sought to buy sex with children over the internet.

York Regional Police say an undercover operation has resulted in the arrests of dozens of men who sought to buy sex with children over the internet.

“We stopped 104 men from purchasing 104 children,” Det. Sgt. Thai Truong told a news conference Friday.

The four-year operation, dubbed Project Raphael, zeroed in on men who sought sex with girls they believed were between 13 and 16 years old.

Most of the would-be customers lived in other parts of the GTA and Ontario, but the alleged offences occurred in York Region, police said.

The men, who ranged in age from 21 to 71, offered to pay between $80 and $300 for encounters of between 30 and 60 minutes with the children.

York Regional Police have arrested 104 men for soliciting the services of juvenile sex workers online.

York Regional Police

York Regional Police have arrested 104 men for soliciting the services of juvenile sex workers online.

“Unfortunately, there was a lot of married men,” Truong said. “Occupations from all walks of life, ethnicities from all walks of life.”

Officers posing as underage sex workers chatted online with the men, who were then charged with offences including communicating for the purposes of obtaining sexual services of a person under 18, and internet luring.

“When they arrived to essentially complete the transaction, they were arrested,” Truong said.

Punishments ranged from three to seven months custody for first offenders, Susan Orlando, the provincial co-ordinator of the Ministry of the Attorney General’s human trafficking prosecution.

They also received fines and probation, and their names were entered on a sex-offender registry.

Their names were also made public.

Truong said the investigation also brought police into contact with 85 girls who were involved in the sex trade online. Many of them showed signs of physical abuse.

“The world of human trafficking is an ugly world,” he said. “We see a lot of lives destroyed.”

Forty-nine of their pimps were charged, Truong said.

“We will continue to do whatever we can to rescue the victims of this horrible crime,” Deputy Chief Tom Carrique said.

“We found that the average age of entering into prostitution was 14.8,” Truong said. “That was a big concern for us.”

He noted that pimps use social media to connect girls with customers, and urged parents to monitor their children’s online activity.

“The pimp will target vulnerable girls,” Truong said. “If the child has parental supervision, they have an advantage.”

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