Officers working out of the York Regional Police Drugs and Vice Unit have charged three Vaughan residents with numerous offences including Human Trafficking after an investigation in the City of Vaughan.
In late September 2011, members of the York Regional Police Drugs and Vice Unit were contacted to assist a 21-year-old female in distress. After becoming acquaintances through social media, the victim reported entering into a relationship with Mr. ASCENZI, who is also known as “Romeo” on the hip-hop circuit.
Investigators believe that later in the relationship, the victim was forced to work as a prostitute under the direction of Mr. ASCENZI and two other suspects. The investigation revealed that the suspects used intimidation and violence to gain power over the victim’s movements and prevent her from leaving his control after she refused to surrender the money she earned while working as an exotic dancer and in the sex-trade. These incidents occurred in Vaughan and Mississauga. All three suspects were arrested on Thursday, October 6, 2011, without incident.
Investigators believe there may be other victims and are urging anyone with information to come forward.
Stefan ASCENZI, 26, of Vaughan
Lisa ASCENZI, 45, of Vaughan
Vanessa CACHIA, 21, of Vaughan
Trafficking in Persons
Procuring x 2
Exercising Direction, Control or Influence to Engage in Prostitution
Living on the Avails of Prostitution
Theft Under $5,000
Breach of Conditional Sentence
All three accused have been held in custody and are scheduled to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice in Newmarket sometime today.
People committing sexual acts for money are often victims of crime through violence or threats of violence, coercion and trickery. York Regional Police is committed to investigating all incidents relating to human trafficking.