False Suspicion of Human Trafficking Bring Massive Police Raid in Canada

108 "arrested" but not charged in B.C. massage parlour raid

Police have carried out a series of raids on Vancouver-area massage parlours, making 108 arrests. But no charges have been laid.

According to the RCMP, police targeted parlours suspected of having connections to the sex trade, organized crime and human trafficking operations. But no charges have been laid and most of the parlour workers appear to be Canadian citizens, according to CTV Vancouver's Lisa Rossington.

"As both Canadians and law enforcement personnel, we are very concerned about people being deceived or coerced into coming to Canada, with the hope of a better life, only to be held in virtual slavery," said RCMP Superintendent Bill Ard. He added: "It is situations such as these, where there are suspicions of people being victimized, that clearly demonstrate the importance of the RCMP and outside agencies working together, to help protect those who are vulnerable and who do not have an opportunity to help themselves...Mr. Ard said the raids followed several months of investigation by the Surrey, Burnaby, Coquitlam and Richmond RCMP detachments.

Twenty-six of those arrested were clients at the parlours, while human trafficking investigators interviewed another 78 women -- many of them described as being Asian or South Asian. However, Rossington later reported that none of the women have since asked for help. And because none have said they were exploited, it's unclear how police will proceed in their investigation.

Robin Pike of the Ministry of Children and Family Development said none of the parlour workers appears to be underage.

Dave notes
They thought they had women in slavery from organized crime, but found none. In Canada "arrest" isn't the same as in the U.S., they were simply detained a few hours and questioned. They are let go when no crime seems to have been committed. If they suspect a crime "charges are laid".

As most folks know consenting private adult prostitution is legal in Canada as in most of the world except the U.S. However they still have an 1800's bawdy house law which makes it illegal for an incall that is regularly used for prostitution. But the law is rarely enforced and even when convicted usually is just a small fine. In this case the raid seems only related to suspicion of human trafficking which as usual was not the case.