Three people are facing a combined 21 charges after they allegedly used a dating app to recruit women and then forced or attempted to force them into sex work.
Toronto police allege that Joshua Hamblett, 23, Sashauna Wilkins, 23, and Keagan Prophete, 19, were each involved in the effort to use Tinder to find potential victims.
According to investigators, the trio “used deception, intimidation and fear to exercise control over the actions and movements” over women.
An investigation into the group by Toronto police’s sex crimes and human trafficking enforcement team began on Dec. 1, after a woman came forward. Police believe there may be other victims.
Police say in one instance, Prophete took a woman to a Mississauga hotel, took images of her in “various stages of undress” and posted the photographs on an online advertising hub. He kept all of the money generated by her sex work and also threatened her and her family, according to investigators.
Wilkins and Hamblett are accused of committing similar offences against the same victim.
In another instance, Wilkins allegedly harassed another woman who refused to perform sexual services for money.
Hamblett and Wilkins were both arrested on Dec. 1, and face a combined 12 charges that include trafficking in persons by recruiting and advertising another person’s sexual services.
Prophete was arrested weeks later, on Dec. 18, after police executed a search warrant in Brampton. He is facing nine charges including assault, trafficking in persons by recruiting and financial benefit by trafficking a person over 18.
Anyone with potentially useful information is asked to contact investigators or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers.