In January, the Toronto Police Service Human Trafficking Enforcement Team initiated a human trafficking investigation. On Tuesday, police announced that two Ontario men were arrested for forcing a 22-year-old woman into the sex trade. The two men, both from the Greater Toronto Area and under the age of 25, face a number of charges in connection to the case.
On Tuesday, February 19th, 2019, Simon Ho-On, 23, of Toronto, was arrested and charged. Nearly one month later, on Wednesday, March 20th, 2019, Domenic Lees, 24, of Whitby, was also arrested for his involvement in the human trafficking case.
Officers reveal in a news release that a man allegedly rendered a 22-year-old woman unconscious through the use of a noxious substance. The man then pressured and coerced her to work in the sex trade, before tattooing her body with his nickname "Sosa" to ensure everyone was aware that she was his "property."
He and another man collaborated together to advertise her sex service on various websites, such as backpage.com, vipfavours.com and leolist.com. Together, the men scheduled for her to attend outcalls, during which she provided her sexual services to clients.
According to police reports, the men deceived, intimidated, and incited fear in order to control the young woman's actions. Both men exploited and assaulted the woman, ultimately leading to serious physical injuries. She was also threatened with a firearm during the time she was under the command of the men.
The woman received controlled substances so that she wouldn't fall asleep - that way, she would nearly always be available to "work." Police also claim that the controlled substances were used to acquire and maintain power over the woman's decision-making.
All of the income earned by the woman for her sex services was taken by the men.Toronto Police's Human Trafficking Enforcement Team issued arrest warrants and numerous Criminal Code search warrants for the men.
Domenic Lees, 24, of Whitby, was charged with: 1) Trafficking in persons by recruiting, transporting, and harbouring 2) Procuring 3) Financial and Material benefit resulting from trafficking in persons 4) Material Benefit 5) Advertise another person sexual services 6) Exercise Control 7) Threatening bodily harm 8) Assault 9) Assault cause bodily harm 10) Use Imitation Firearm/Commit Indictable Offence 11) Administer Noxious Thing/Intent to Aggrieve/Annoy 12) Theft Simon Ho-On, 23, of Toronto, was charged with: 1) Trafficking in persons by recruiting, transporting, and harbouring 2) Procuring 3) Financial and Material benefit resulting from trafficking in persons 4) Material Benefit 5) Advertise another person sexual services 6) Exercise Control 7) Threatening bodily harm 8) Assault 9) Assault cause bodily harm On Tuesday, April 9th, at 10:00 AM, the men are expected to appear in court at Old City Hall.Police believe there may be more victims who have not yet reported similar crimes to authorities. Police urge all affected individuals to report Human Trafficking occurrences, ensuring all victims have access to support services and an exit strategy, regardless of their decision to proceed criminally. Police also remind the public that human trafficking is defined as "any person who recruits, transports, transfers, receives, holds, conceals or harbours a person, or exercises control, direction or influence over the movements of a person, for the purpose of exploiting them or facilitating their exploitation, for a sexual purpose or a forced labour purpose."
Toronto Police Services warns that victims can be men, women or children, can be Canadian citizens, and can be moved across local, provincial or national borders. They can be coerced through violence or the threat of violence against family and friends.
The Human Trafficking Enforcement Team of Sex Crimes is committed to investigating crimes against vulnerable members of our communities. For more information, please visit the Sex Crimes website.