Ottawa police have arrested two 15-year-old girls and are hunting for another 17-year-old girl, all accused of forcing other teens into prostitution.
The three teenagers are alleged to have — on at least three occasions — forced three victims, all between the ages of 13 and 17, into acts of prostitution with adult men, according to the National Post. The two girls who have already been arrested cannot be named because they are protected by the Youth Criminal Justice Act, and face numerous charges, including human trafficking, robbery, forcible confinement, sexual assault, assault, uttering threats and abduction. One is also charged with administering a noxious substance.
The Post also reported that police said social networking sites were used to lure the victims, and there was no indication adults or pimps played a role in setting up the ring.
More from GlobalPost: Teen housewife ran underage prostitution ring via Facebook, Indonesian police say
"It's shocking, quite frankly," Staff Sgt. John McGetrick said, according to the Ottawa Citizen. "We asked the RCMP, who take the lead on human trafficking, and they didn't know of any similar case in Canada."
The Ottawa Police Sexual Assault/Child Abuse Section were able to link three incidents that occurred in late May and early June, where each female victim was asked to meet at a residence on Walkley Road "for social reasons" before being taken to other parts of the city and forced into sex acts, reported the Citizen. The two girls in custody were arrested June 8 and 9.
"When you think of human trafficking and the stereotypes that go with it, right or wrong, you don't think of three young-offender girls, McGetrick told the Toronto Star.
McGetrick also said any other victims who have gone through a similar experience should contact him or any other Ottawa police officer, according to the Canadian Press. A description of the 17-year-old girl still at large cannot be released, because she is also protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.