RCMP assisting human trafficking investigation into StFX student athlete

TORONTO, ONT.: Investigators with the York Regional Police (YRP) Special Victims Unit have charged a 20-year-old StFX student with several human-trafficking-related offences.

Police say that on Dec.13, 2020, the accused was arrested after a 16-year-old female was procured and exploited in the sex trade, resulting in her turning over earnings to an adult male.

Late last month, York Regional Police released an image of the accused in the event there are other victims.

Justin Barrett faces eight charges including; material benefit from trafficking and trafficking in persons under the age of 18; material benefit from sexual services of a person under 18 years; procure, exercise control, direction or influence over a person under the age of 18; distribution and possession of child pornography; and luring a child under the age of 18.

Investigators believe that in 2019, the accused spent time in West Virginia, and currently has ties to Nova Scotia.

The Reporter has learned the 6’3” goalkeeper from Brampton, Ont. was a freshman on the StFX X-Men varsity soccer team – who has since been removed from the team’s online roster.

Sgt. Andrew Joyce, a public information officer with the Nova Scotia RCMP, confirmed they have been in communications with the York Regional Police, but couldn’t comment any further since there hasn’t been a charge laid in Nova Scotia.

In a letter to the campus community, StFX vice president of students Elizabeth Yeo advised the university learned that a first-year student had been charged in connection with a human trafficking investigation.

“Please note that the university has not been contacted by legal authorities, and we are not aware of any allegations of criminal activity within our community related to this individual at this time,” Yeo reassured. “The university will be monitoring and reviewing the situation closely to ensure the safety of our community, which is always our priority.”

She indicated that included attempting to gain more information from the police about the file.

Under the Sexual Violence Policy, StFX will implement immediate measures in cases of elevated risk to the StFX and/or broader Antigonish community.

“We understand that an announcement such as this can cause anxiety within the community,” Yeo stated.

Investigators are asking anyone with information to contact them at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 6800, or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS.