Suspects shot woman who they forced into sex trade and then refused her medical treatment: police
Tyrel McLean (left) and Dante Thaxter (right) are shown in these handout photos. The two men are facing a combined 56 charges in a human trafficking investigation. (Toronto Police Service)
Chris Fox, CP24.com
Published Thursday, February 22, 2018 11:43AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 22, 2018 11:47AM EST
Police say that two men are facing a combined 56 charges after they allegedly forced a woman into the sex trade and then shot her in the buttocks when she refused to continue working for them.
According to police, the suspects forced the woman to work as a prostitute between Jan. 8 and Feb. 10. of this year.
During that time it is alleged that the suspects took the woman to various Airbnb rentals in Toronto as well as in Peel, Durham and York regions, where they forced her to provide sexual services to clients who had responded to advertisements they had posted on Backpages.com.
The woman was then allegedly forced to turn over all of the money that she earned to the suspects.
Police say the enslavement of the woman continued for several weeks.
That is until Feb. 5, when police say the woman got into a verbal altercation with the suspects at the Idlewood Inn on Kingston Road and told them that she would no longer work as an escort.
It is alleged that one of the suspects responded by pointing a .45 calibre semi-automatic handgun at the woman’s face.
Police say that the woman pushed the firearm away out of concern that she would be shot and sat down in a chair.
Police say that’s when the suspect became angry and fired a shot, which struck her in the buttocks area.
Following the shooting, the suspects are alleged to have driven the woman to an unknown address in the Toronto area. They then allegedly took the woman to a number of addresses in the GTA over the next five days, refusing to allow her to seek medical treatment for the gunshot wound.
The woman ultimately escaped on Feb. 10 and sought medical treatment at a local hospital.
“I don’t want to get into how she escaped but she had the courage and fortitude to get away from her captors,” Detective Sergeant Nunzio Tramontozzi told reporters at a news conference on Thursday. “She is doing better than she was. She is very courageous and she is getting those wraparound services that she needs.”
Tramontozzi said that police believe the suspects may have had other victims and are urging anyone with information to come forward.
He said that their use of Airbnb rentals to commit the alleged offences is part of a disturbing trend.
“Within the last couple years we have seen a uptake in Airbnb’s being used for human trafficking,” he said. “They (pimps) are a lot more anonymous when they use these type of rentals.”
The two suspects were both arrested on Feb. 20. One of the suspects was arrested in Hamilton while the other was arrested during the execution of a criminal search warrant at a property in Brampton.
Police allege that the suspect arrested in Hamilton was found to be in possession of a loaded .45 calibre semi-automatic handgun and a large quantity of cash and ammunition.
Dante Thaxter, 18, of Peel Region and Tyrel McLean, 18, of Hamilton both appeared in court on Wednesday.
They are facing a combined 56 charges, including forcible confinement, threatening death and aggravated assault.