Three people have been arrested after a joint police task force targeted massage parlours in Hamilton.
Project Orchid, which claims to be aimed at protecting the safety and security of potentially vulnerable women, included investigators and officers from Hamilton police, the RCMP, the city’s Licensing and By-Law team, as well as the Canada Border Services Agency.
In a statement, the task force officials say they visited nine suspect establishments across Hamilton in recent months, including body-rub parlours and personal wellness services, which were believed to be in violation of a number of city codes.
“Through investigation, the majority of the personal wellness service establishments were found to offer sexual acts which are in violation of the City of Hamilton bylaw.” Hamilton police said in a prepared statement.
Investigators did not elaborate on how many or the nature of the licensing and bylaw infractions given out but did say in addition to the arresting three people on immigration-related charges, the task force also gave warnings to four men about paying for sexual services.
Hamilton police say the businesses used online advertising to entice customers to visit the businesses.
“The establishments generally advertise through online ads,” police said in their statement.
“One location was advertising on an online escort website.”
Police also revealed the discovery of a human trafficking victim, which they did not identify.
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