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Okotoks RCMP and Calgary Police confirm no validity to human trafficking posts

Local social media groups were buzzing after a post circulated on March 16 detailing an attempted abduction near Winners in Okotoks.
RCMP car and tape
File photo - Brent Calver/Western Wheel

Okotoks - Local social media groups were buzzing after a post circulated on March 16 detailing an alleged attempted abduction near Winners in Okotoks.

In a phone interview on March 17, Okotoks RCMP Cpl. Ryan Edwards confirmed the post had no validity, and no police reports had been filed.

Similar posts with different locations had been shared in other areas, including Calgary.

Const. Anthony Thompson, a community resource officer with the Calgary Police Service (CPS) District 8 (covering south), made a post on Facebook March 16 indicating that CPS is aware of posts circulating on social media alleging attempts to abduct women for the purpose of human trafficking in south Calgary.

"There is no evidence at this time to support these specific claims," the post by Thompson said.

"If you or someone you know is being sexually exploited or trafficked, please report it to police."

If someone is in immediate danger, they are encouraged to call 911. Otherwise, the Okotoks RCMP non-emergency dispatch can be reached at 403-938-4202. Calgary Police non-emergency dispatch can be reached at 403-266-1234.

A subsequent post by Thompson addressed posts encouraging the use of pepper spray, a prohibited weapon in Canada.

"Let's be clear about this, in Canada, pepper spray—carried for the intention of personal protection— is considered a prohibited weapon by the Criminal Code, so it's illegal," Thompson said in the post. "Bear spray, carried for the intention of protecting yourself against a bear attack, is legal—although if you use it on a person, you can be charged with using a weapon."

The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking offers a list of signs that someone may be the victim of human trafficking at https://www.canadiancentretoendhumantrafficking.ca/signs-of-human-trafficking/

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Brent Calver

About the Author: Brent Calver

Award-winning photojournalist for the Okotoks Western Wheel and OkotoksToday.ca
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