Edmonton… Four teens have been rescued following an ALERT Human Trafficking investigation in Edmonton. Two men and a 17-year-old face a total of 48 charges.
ALERT’s Human Trafficking unit charged three suspects on October 12, 2023 in a case that dates back several months and involved underage victims. ALERT alleges that the youths were recruited and groomed into working in the sex trade and were being sexually exploited at a local hotel.
One of the victims, a 13-year-old girl, was part of a missing persons investigation earlier in the year. ALERT worked with the Edmonton Police Service on the case, which also led to the identification of other youth victims.
“These youths met their perpetrators over social media and were lured and groomed into working in the sex industry. As is often the case, there are a bunch of false promises of money, relationships, gifts, but those never seem to materialize and these survivors endure tremendous hardship,” said Staff Sgt. Chris Hayes, ALERT Human Trafficking.
All four survivors are receiving the appropriate supports and resources with partner agencies.
Obinna Nwanekezi, 19 years old, faces 22 charges, including:
Jelani Ried, 19 years old, faces 21 charges, including:
Five additional charges have been laid against a 17-year-old youth who cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. They have been released with conditions.
ALERT encourages anyone who believes they are a victim of sexual assault or abuse to report it to police. Victims of sexual exploitation can report it to the Edmonton Police Service by calling 780-423-4567, or 9-1-1 if they are in immediate danger. Alternatively, anyone seeking supports is encouraged to contact the Safety Network Coordinator with CEASE at 780-471-6137. There is no time limit on how long a victim has to report a sexual assault in Canada.
Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.
ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.