PUBLISHED: 18:09 EST, 12 June 2012 | UPDATED: 18:14 EST, 12 June 2012
Two 15-year-old girls have been charged with human trafficking after allegedly luring other teenage girls into prostitution.
Ottawa police are searching for a third suspect, a 17-year-old girl, who is accused of being part of the ring.
Police believe that the girls were not acting under an adult ring leader, but carried out the crimes themselves.
The teenagers allegedly persuaded girls, aged between 13 and 17, to come and socialise at a home in south Ottawa, then kidnapped them, drove them to other areas of the city and forced them into sex acts.
Describing the case as ‘shocking’, Staff Sgt. John McGetrick said police have never seen anything like it before.
Police allege that on three separate occasions in late May and early June, the teenagers lured three other girls to a Walkley Road residence in south Ottawa.
The victims were then driven to other locations around the city for the purpose of prostitution.
Investigators found similarities linking the three incidents and were able to identify the three suspects, reportedThe Leader Post.
The girls, who were arrested on Friday and Saturday, face multiple charges, including human trafficking, robbery, procuring, forcible confinement, sexual assault, assault, uttering threats and abduction.
One of the girls is also charged with administering a noxious substance.
Police did not confirm whether the girls knew their victims, although said that they had links to each other on social networking sites.
The mother of one of the 15-year-old’s told CTV Ottawa that she was surprised about the charges being brought against her daughter.
The woman added she would have known if anyone was being held captive at her home.
McGetrick declined to provide more details but said the victims were confined and forced to engage in prostitution.
‘The actions that lead to the offence are the same whether you’re 12 or 60,’ McGetrick told The Leader Post. ‘It’s still an offence, and they still need to be held accountable.’
A woman who lives in the neighbourhood where the girls allegedly lured their victims, described the alleged prostitution ring as ‘insane.’
‘I cannot believe that such young girls would be the ones responsible for something like this,’ Natasha Albert told The Leader Post.
The investigation may lead to the arrests of the clients, McGetrick said.