Warning: This story may be triggering for some, due to mentions of sexual exploitation and abuse.
The Service de Police de l'Agglomération de Longueuil (SPAL) announced this morning that they arrested 8 people with charges relating to drug trafficking and sexual exploitation. They relay in a press release the horrific details of the case.
According to the SPAL, their investigation uncovered an 8-person trafficking network that was selling illegal drugs and firearms. They also found out that the network was keeping a woman captive and forcing her into sex.
This investigation has prompted the creation of a new team to help survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
In their press release the SPAL recount that they were first alerted to the network through an anonymous tip in January of this year. At the time, it was believed that the apartment building was the site of drug trafficking and illegal firearm sales.
When police arrived on the scene they were able to verify the information. Once they got to the scene, they discovered "even more troubling information." The SPAL founda woman sequestered in the apartment building.
The 40-year old woman was forced into sexual acts, recounts the SPAL. They reveal that she had been forced into sex by the network and held at gunpoint if she refused to cooperate.
Police believe that there are other women who may have been victims of the network, as well.
Eight people, two women and six men, have arrest warrants on various charges, which include illegal possession of firearms, drug trafficking, inflicting wounds, sequestration and making threats. All but one have previous convictions.
Two of the eight suspects were temporarily released, and police are still looking for one woman, Cynthia Lefebvre, seen in the cover photo above. The other five are currently being held in custody.
Police said that this case led them to realise that there is little help out there for adult women who have been forced into sexual slavery or prostitution. Many NGOs specialising in this are not available 24/7.
The SPAL noted that their new team has helped the victimprocess some of the "significant trauma" she endured, and are staying in constant contact with her.