Student charged with human trafficking related offences suspended by StFX

ANTIGONISH: StFX University says it has suspended a first-year student who was charged in connection to an Ontario human trafficking investigation.

Investigators with the York Regional Police (YRP) Special Victims Unit announced on Dec. 13 they had charged 20-year-old Justin Barrett with several human trafficking-related offences.

The accused was arrested after a 16-year-old female was procured and exploited in the sex trade, resulting in her turning over earnings, the YRP said.

Providing an update in a letter to the campus community on Jan. 12, Elizabeth Yeo, the university’s vice president of students, indicated this matter – including the serious nature of the charges – has been carefully reviewed, and as a result, StFX has suspended the individual involved, effective immediately.

“As per the StFX Sexual Violence Response Policy, the university will reconsider this matter once the outcome of the police investigation and criminal charges are completed,” Yeo said. “As indicated earlier, the university is unaware of any allegations of criminal activity associated with our campus community from this matter.”

However, she explained it is a situation that will continue to be monitored closely as their first priority is the safety of their community and ensuring their campus is free from sexualized violence.

Barrett, who was a freshman goaltender on the StFX X-Men varsity soccer team, 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.