An Ontario police force is trying to take steps forward in the fight against human trafficking in the country. The London Police Service has announced that they will start releasing the names of people charged for buying sex in order to help fight against human trafficking. The announcement was made during a meeting at the Police Services Board in Ontario and after a presentation explained why London, Ontario is deemed a "hub for human trafficking of women", according to 680 News.
London Police Chief John Pare announced that the police force will start publicly naming offenders as an attempt to prevent such actions. He said that all names of those charged with buying sex will be shared with the public, with the exception of those that are covered by a publication ban or in certain situations where it could hurt the victim's privacy, 680 News reports.
"This is our way to affect the demand and enhance public safety for these victims of human trafficking," said Pare at the meeting. "This is just a warning … Make better choices in life. This is not a choice that you should be doing and purchasing sex and putting these victims at the risk that they are facing."
The initiative by the London Police Serve to help fight human trafficking in the country is especially important, given how big of a problem it has become in not just Ontario, but all of Canada.
Following the announcement from the London Police Chief, the head of the force’s human trafficking squad, Detective David Ellyatt, gave a presentation on how problematic the issue is in the region.
According to Ellyatt, 93 percent of human trafficking victims in Canada are female, and approximate half identify as Indigenous. He said that a likely contributing factor for London being a "hub" for human trafficking is due to the city's being close to half-way between Toronto and Detroit, Michigan, 680 News reports.
This announcement came after a recent sting operation from the force had alarming results. The police put up a fake ad on a site used by people selling sex and it ended up getting 9,000 views in one week.
"There's 9,000 people looking at that fake ad," said Ellyatt. "That speaks to the demand that’s ongoing in our city, by men, to buy sexual services. And that’s a problem that we really have to address."
Several advocacy groups for women praised the move as a step towards the right direction, according to 680 News. However, not everyone is for this policy. Some worry about the effectiveness of this new regulation and think it could create greater problems by forcing such activity even more underground.