On July 26 and 27, 2019, the Brandon Police Service - Organized Crime Section, together with the Winnipeg Police Service - Counter Exploitation Unit conducted project Beckon.
Project Beckon’s goal was to target the demand side of sexual exploitation and safety of those who are exploited."Through intelligence gathering and liaising with our downtown business and agency partners, it became apparent that human trafficking and sexual exploitation exists in Brandon and has been gaining traction in our community," Brandon Insp. Mike Pelechaty said.
Those who use the services of sex-trade workers are liable to varying consequences, from seizure of vehicles used to commit offences, suspension of driver's licences, fines and imprisonment, and diversion to a prostitution offender program, the Winnipeg police website says.
As a result of Project Beckon 20 men were arrested and charged with Obtaining Sexual Services for Consideration under the Criminal Code. They range in age from 22 to 82 years. The men charged are from across Manitoba, including one from Virden, one from Shoal Lake and one from Winnipeg and 14 from Brandon; 15 vehicles were seized under the Manitoba Highway Traffic act.
"I think this will have a dramatic effect on those seeking sexual services within our city and hopefully the message here is that it's not going to be tolerated in our community," said Winnipeg police Sgt. Richard McDougall, a member of the counter-exploitation unit, as reported in the Brandon Sun.
All 20 individuals have been released on a Promise to Appear.