Ponoka man arrested on suspicion of forcing homeless women into sex work in Edmonton
A central Alberta man suspected of recruiting and exploiting multiple vulnerable women is facing seven charges related to sex trafficking and sexual assault, according to the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT).
Christopher Becks, 37, is from Ponoka and was arrested after a search at an Ottewell home in Edmonton following a tip that someone was targeting women, many with no fixed address.
“It’s our understanding that this man was actively searching out women who were struggling with addiction,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher Hayes with ALERT’s human trafficking section.
“He would lure these women to hotels by offering drugs, food and a place to stay, then exploit them and force them into the sex trade, even taking them to other areas of the province.”
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Hayes said there may be more than a dozen women affected and police are looking to speak with the other victims and witnesses.
“There’s a community of these women that he targets, and these women may better recognize him by the name Bear,” Hayes said, adding Beck is known to drive a black Mustang car.
Those with information about this investigation are asked to contact Edmonton Police Service at 780-423-4567 or submit anonymous tips through Crime Stoppers.
Sexual and labour human trafficking increasing in Alberta
Becks is out on bail with conditions as he awaits his next court appearance on March 3. He faces the following charges:
- Trafficking a person
- Material benefit from trafficking a person
- Advertising sexual services
- Sexual assault
- Overcoming resistance to commission of offence
- Uttering threats
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