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A nation-wide police blitz that sex workers say involved police officers posing as clients to investigate human trafficking in the sex trade used dishonest tactics, advocates say.

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Big Susie's, a Hamilton-based group founded by and for sex workers, ed five other advocacy groups across the country to voice their concerns about Project Northern Spotlight, a nation-wide police initiative aimed at identifying young women coerced into sex trade.

The two-day blitz, which took place on Jan. The blitz took place at hotels and motels on major ro, according to a release by Durham police. More than women and girls — some as young as 15 — were interviewed. Police officers posed as clients and booked appointments with sex workers during the blitz, according to a t statement issued by the groups. Scream, who sits on the board of directors at Big Susie's. Scream, a former dominatrix and current university student in sexuality studies, asked to use her professional pseudonym instead of her real name.

The blitz also aggravated the lingering distrust between sex workers and the police, Mz. Scream told CBC Hamilton. Dave Saliba of Durham police refused to say whether police officers posed as clients, citing it was part of the details of the operation. He also said although Durham police coordinated the blitz, local police forces had the autonomy to de their own operations. During Project Northern Spotlight, police identified 25 suspected human traffickers and eight were arrested. They also laid 28 Hamilton sex online now.

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Project Northern Spotlight took place a month after the Supreme Court struck down Canada's anti-prostitution laws. The top court ruled that the laws — which prohibit brothels, living on the avails of prostitution and communicating in public with clients — was over-broad. Saliba said, however, that the timing of the blitz was coincidental and prostitution activities were not targeted during the blitz.

Police officers' objective was to ensure that the sex workers, Saliba said, are working willingly instead of being coerced. We let them know that there are some support services out there should they choose to use it, but that's about it.

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Project Northern Spotlight was a continuation of two local initiatives by Durham police targeting human trafficking, Saliba said. Project Armstrong, which began in Octoberfocused on at-risk women in the sex trade industry. Officers encountered 39 escorts and found at least nine of them had been or were victims of human trafficking, according to the release. It resulted in 9 arrests and 83 charges. Last March, Durham police also launched Project Spencer that targeted human trafficking activities at various hotels in Whitby. The blitz resulted in Durham Region's first human trafficking conviction after a year-old Whitby man was convicted of human trafficking in connection with two women aged 21 and Do I think the problem will disappear?

Absolutely not," he said. For future interactions, Mz. Scream said police should be more transparent with sex workers to develop a trusting relationship. Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses.

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Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time. the conversation Create. Already have an ? Headlines Undercover police 'dishonest': Hamilton sex worker advocate says Project Northern Spotlight, a nation-wide police blitz that sex workers say involved police officers posing as clients to investigate human trafficking in the sex trade, uses dishonest tactics, advocates say.

Social Sharing. Big Susie's brings fight for sex workers' rights to Hamilton Ontario woman arrested in trafficking of teen sex worker Police officers posed as clients and booked appointments with sex workers during the blitz, according to a t statement issued by the groups. Durham police sent both male and female officers and they were in plainclothes, Saliba added.

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Supreme Court decision Project Northern Spotlight took place a month after the Supreme Court struck down Canada's anti-prostitution laws. Durham police will continue their human trafficking investigation, Saliba said.

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Related Stories Ontario woman arrested in trafficking of teen sex worker Big Susie's brings fight for sex workers' rights to Hamilton Supreme Court strikes down Canada's prostitution laws.

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