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Victoria man charged with prostituting 16-year-old girl on Internet sites

Feb 01 2012

A 22-year-old Victoria man has been charged in relation to prostituting a 16-year-old girl on Internet sites, the culmination of a 14-month investigation by West Shore RCMP, undercover investigators and tech crime experts.

The investigation started in November 2010, when West Shore RCMP received information that a 16-year-old girl from the community was being solicited as a prostitute on several websites.

Significant resources were devoted to the file, including the Mobile Youth Services Team, the Regional Crime Unit, which conducts surveillance and tracks prolific offenders, and provincial RCMP officers from the technical crimes unit. This led police to a man they believed was acting as the teen’s pimp.

Police believe the 16-year-old girl was being “controlled and influenced” by the man and that he was benefitting financially.

On Jan. 19, Stephen Charlie was charged in Western Communities court with procurement, aiding, abetting or compelling a person to carry on prostitution, living off the avails of prostitution, kidnapping and assault.

West Shore RCMP would not go into details about the kidnapping or assault or how long the man was allegedly forcing the victim to sell her body for sex.

West Shore RCMP spokeswoman Cpl. Kathy Rochlitz said Charlie was already in police custody on other charges when the prostitution-related charges were laid.

Rochlitz would not say whether police searched Charlie’s Victoria home or seized electronics.

Rochlitz said police delayed in making the charges public because they wanted to make sure the court application to protect the victim’s identity went through. A ban on publication on the victim's name was put in place Jan. 26

“At this time she is safe and moving forward in her life,” Rochlitz said, adding she can’t say whether the victim still lives in the West Shore.

West Shore RCMP hosted a workshop in April about sexual exploitation and trafficking and said there was a huge turnout.

These charges are a reminder that sexual exploitation “is a problem that, it happens in our community,” Rochlitz said. “It's not something that is highly visible but it does happen. It's nice to be able to come forward and say we were able to ensure the safety of someone and lay some charges on someone with some good solid police work.”