By: Bridgette Watson at CBC News | Feb 20, 2020
You will be heard and you will be helped.
That is the message the Victoria Police Department wants to share with anyone in their region who has been trafficked for sex work.
The department suspects there are victims in the region who have not come forward after Shawn Alexander Kelly, 23, Seyed Kourosh Miralinaghi, 19, Seyed Kamran Miralinaghi, 19, from Victoria and Shermineh Sheri Ziaee, 36, from Langford were charged with numerous human trafficking-related crimes in January.
VicPD spokesperson Const. Cameron McIntyre said the force’s number one priority is to connect victims with support services and not to involve them in criminal investigations.
“These people will be heard. They will be listened to. They will be believed and there is no judgment on our end. We are just looking to help them and ensure their safety,” said McIntyre Thursday on On The Island.
He said there is sometimes a misunderstanding that people think if they come to the police, they are automatically going to be involved in some criminal matter.
McIntyre says victims will not need to press charges, or provide evidence in court, unless they want to.
“Our mentality is victim first. Arrests and charges and things like that come later, certainly with the help of the victim,” he said.