New charges for accused in child prostitution ring
CTV British Columbia
Published Friday, August 10, 2012 6:57PM PDT
Last Updated Monday, August 13, 2012 6:37AM PDT
Crown prosecutors have just approved another 18 charges against a Vancouver man accused of luring girls as young as 14 years old into prostitution, CTV News has learned.
Reza Moazami, 28, was arrested last October at a suspected bawdy house in South Vancouver and became the first person to be charged with trafficking minors in B.C.
He was initially charged with almost 20 criminal counts involving four alleged victims – all underage girls from Metro Vancouver – but Crown lawyer Damienne Darby says another seven have since spoken out.
“There are now 11 victims who have come forward and a total of 36 counts,” Darby said, adding that the girls were between the ages of 14 and 19 on the offence dates.
The charges include living on the avails of a juvenile, sexual interference, sexual exploitation and trafficking underage persons -- an offence that carries a minimum jail sentence of five years.
Moazami was held in custody for about two months before being released on bail in December, but Darby told CTV News he has since been arrested again for allegedly breaching his conditions.
He’s accused of attempting to contact one of the alleged victims and possessing electronic devices, and is being held in custody while facing two counts of breach.
This time, the Crown is hoping to keep him behind bars.
“Today there was an application to revoke his bail on the provincial court matter and to seek his detention,” Darby said. “He’s breached, so we believe that he should be held in custody now until the trial’s concluded.”
The lawyer could not say how police learned about the alleged breaches, but said that information “will come out in the fullness of time.”
“The matters are before the court,” Darby said.
Sgt. Richard Akin, the head of the Vancouver Police Department’s Vice Unit, says prostituting juveniles is unreported, but is gaining more prominence.
He said his unit has devoted a lot of resources to Moazami’s case, and hopes any other potential victims feel they can come forward.
Moazami is scheduled to appear in court next week.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Mi-Jung Lee