After a year-long investigation, a 22-year-old Victoria man has been charged with forcibly prostituting a 16-year-old girl through a number of websites.
The West Shore RCMP detachment received information in November 2010 that a 16-year-old was being solicited on the Internet in Greater Victoria, based out of the West Shore.
West Shore RCMP, the regional crime unit and provincial RCMP resources uncovered evidence leading to an adult male investigators say was controlling the girl.
RCMP Cpl. Kathy Rochlitz said it took investigators about six months to locate the suspect and a few more months to amass enough evidence to charge the man.
Rochlitz said the female victim is now “in a safe environment moving forward with her life,” but couldn’t say if the girl is with her family or in the custody of youth services.
The suspect and the victim aren’t related, and Rochlitz couldn’t say how long the girl was being sold as a prostitute.
Rochlitz did say the crimes of forcing the girl into prostitution, living off prostitution and kidnapping took place on the West Shore.
“I don’t believe we’ve ever had a file of this nature involving such a young person,” she said. “It doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. But this is a classic case of a criminal targeting vulnerable youth.
“At-risk youth are lured with money and drugs, and in the end the young person is left as a victim.”
Stephen Charlie, 22, is charged with procuring, aiding, abetting or compelling a person to carry on prostitution, living off the avails of prostitution, kidnapping and assault.
He was charged on Jan. 19 and remains in custody on unrelated charges involving breaking and entering, assault and robbery in Victoria last May.
Charlie’s next court date on the prostitution, kidnapping and assault charges is Feb. 9, 10 a.m. at Western Communities Courthouse.