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Alberta

Three suspects charged for allegedly sex trafficking Edmonton teens

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3 minute read

From the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) 

“One of the victims, a 13-year-old girl, was part of a missing persons investigation earlier in the year”

Four teens have been rescued following an ALERT Human Trafficking investigation in Edmonton. Two men and a 17-year-old face a total of 48 charges.

ALERT’s Human Trafficking unit charged three suspects on October 12, 2023 in a case that dates back several months and involved underage victims. ALERT alleges that the youths were recruited and groomed into working in the sex trade and were being sexually exploited at a local hotel.

One of the victims, a 13-year-old girl, was part of a missing persons investigation earlier in the year. ALERT worked with the Edmonton Police Service on the case, which also led to the identification of other youth victims.

“These youths met their perpetrators over social media and were lured and groomed into working in the sex industry. As is often the case, there are a bunch of false promises of money, relationships, gifts, but those never seem to materialize and these survivors endure tremendous hardship,” said Staff Sgt. Chris Hayes, ALERT Human Trafficking.

All four survivors are receiving the appropriate supports and resources with partner agencies.

Obinna Nwanekezi, 19 years old, faces 22 charges, including:

  • Trafficking a person under 18;
  • Procuring a person under 18;
  • Luring a child;
  • Sexual exploitation;
  • Material benefit from trafficking a person under 18;
  • Making child pornography;
  • Distributing child pornography;
  • Possessing child pornography;
  • Agreement/arrangement of sexual offence against child; and
  • Assault.

Jelani Ried, 19 years old, faces 21 charges, including:

  • Trafficking a person under 18;
  • Procuring a person under 18;
  • Luring a child;
  • Sexual exploitation;
  • Material benefit from trafficking a person under 18;
  • Making child pornography;
  • Distributing child pornography;
  • Possessing child pornography; and
  • Agreement/arrangement of sexual offence against child.

Five additional charges have been laid against a 17-year-old youth who cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. They have been released with conditions.

ALERT encourages anyone who believes they are a victim of sexual assault or abuse to report it to police. Victims of sexual exploitation can report it to the Edmonton Police Service by calling 780-423-4567, or 9-1-1 if they are in immediate danger. Alternatively, anyone seeking supports is encouraged to contact the Safety Network Coordinator with CEASE at 780-471-6137. There is no time limit on how long a victim has to report a sexual assault in Canada.

Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.

Alberta

Premier Smith announces plan to boost Alberta’s Heritage Fund to at least 250 Billion by 2050

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From CPAC on YouTube

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith delivers state-of-the-province address

In a televised address from Edmonton, Danielle Smith, the premier of Alberta, delivers an update on her government’s vision and legislative priorities.

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Alberta

Alberta looking to ban electronic vote tabulators ahead of next provincial election

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

electronic voting tabulators, which were supposed to speed up vote counting, instead saw election results delayed due with workers having to manually enter the results that each tabulator printed out.

The conservative Premier of Alberta, Danielle Smith, has confirmed she is looking to ban the use of electronic vote tabulators in future provincial elections after issues with them in the 2023 election saw massive delays in the tallying of votes.  

Smith, according to a report from True North, while speaking to a United Conservative Party (UCP) fundraiser on January 26 in the community of Bonnyville was asked if she would “end the use of voting tabulators across the province?” 

Smith replied with a firm “yes.” 

The 2023 Alberta provincial elections held in May saw Smith and her UCP win a majority, although a slim one, over the left-wing Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP).

Elections Alberta used what is called a Vote Anywhere Service, which allowed anyone to vote at any voting place regardless of which riding (jurisdiction) they were actually voting in. While paper ballots were used for the election, electronic tabulators were used to count the votes from all hand ballots. A form was then printed out with the result of each riding from the tabulators count of the hand ballots.  

However, the electronic voting tabulators, which were supposed to speed up vote counting, instead saw election results delayed due with workers having to manually enter the results that each tabulator printed out.  

Elections Alberta noted in June 2023, per True North, that “[w]e did not use any electronic data transfer from the tabulators, as the tabulators used for advance voting were never connected to a network at any time.” 

“As a result, it was a manual process to verify and enter these results.”  

As for Smith, before the 2023 election, she noted that she was confident in Elections Alberta’s plan to use electronic tabulators, as “we have the ability to do a hand count as a follow up in the event there are close results, I believe that’s going to be sufficient.” 

“That’s, I think, something that people expect in democracy – that you should be able to verify a vote if results end up very close,” she added.  

Elections Alberta, however, has pushed back on returning to hand counting ballots, saying it would increase the manual workload of employees.

There were many close results on election night, with the NDP losing a few seats by only a handful of votes in some Calgary ridings.  

Smith gave no timeline as to how or when she would make the change.

Many large municipalities in Alberta, including the province’s two biggest cities, Calgary and Edmonton, use electronic tabulators for ballot counting.

Issues surrounding electronic voting machines as well as tabulators came to a head in the aftermath of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, which saw Joe Biden declared the winner over Donald Trump. 

A report published by LifeSiteNews last year documented how a computer programmer, Clinton Eugene Curtis, who had previously testified to Congress on the integrity of voting machines, warned lawmakers in Arizona to never trust them.  

“Don’t use machines, because you can never, ever trust them to give you a fair election,” said Curtis. 

“There are too many ways to hack them. You can hack them at the level that I did when you first build them, you can hack them from the outside, you can hack them with programs that load themselves on the side. It’s impossible to secure them. You will never beat the programmer. The programmer always owns the universe.”  

Of note is that Curtis is a Democrat who had worked as a programmer for NASA, as well as the Department of Defense and other government agencies.

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