Kingston man now facing 95 human trafficking related charges, police seek additional victims
Since the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) announced sexual assault and human trafficking related charges laid against a local man in July 2022, further victims have been identified and more charges have been laid, according to police.
The OPP originally announced over 70 charges laid against Michael Mark Haaima, 38, of Kingston on Monday, Jul. 11, 2022. Those charges included 18 counts of sexual assault, twocounts of making child pornography, sexual interference and trafficking of a person under 18, bestiality related charges, and charges stemming from sexual assaults with violence. The charges were laid as part of Project Shamrock, a joint investigation of the OPP and Kingston Police, which began in January 2022 when police were made aware of an individual “luring women and girls through social media platforms for the purpose of exploitation.”
“A thorough investigation was conducted by the Provincial Human Trafficking Intelligence-led Joint Forces Strategy (IJFS) from the OPP Anti-Human Trafficking Unit, Kingston Police, Ottawa Police Service, Peterborough Police Service and the OPP Digital Forensics,” the OPP said of the project.
Haaima was arrested on Wednesday, Apr. 6, 2022. Initially, 10 victims were identified, and 76 charges were laid against Haaima as a result. Those victims were “provided with aid through a victim services agency and are now in a place of safety,” police said in a press release on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. However, due to continued investigation, as well as increased awareness around the case since the OPP’s announcement in July, police have identified additional victims, and 19 further charges against Haaima have been laid.
“The investigation was supported by Kingston Victim Services and the OPP IJFS Victim Specialist of the OPP Victim-Centred Approach Team,” the OPP said, noting the investigation remains ongoing, and police are currently looking for any additional victims.
“The IJFS was created to support victims and hold traffickers accountable for their crimes, and that objective was achieved. IJFS members conducted a thorough investigation, demonstrating the importance of law enforcement partnerships to rescue victims from exploitation. Our communities are safer because of this team’s dedication,” said Deputy Commissioner Chuck Cox, Provincial Commander of the OPP Investigations and Organized Crime.
Currently, Haaima is charged with the following offences contrary to the Criminal Code of Canada:
- 20 counts of sexual assault
- Seven counts of unlawfully accessing child pornography
- Six counts of obtaining sexual services for consideration
- Seven counts of forcible confinement
- Three counts of assault
- Harassment by watching and besetting
- Four counts of overcoming resistance to an offence/attempt to choke
- Criminal harassment by communication
- Five counts of sexual assault with choking
- Four counts of uttering threats of death or bodily harm
- Uttering threats of death or bodily harm to an animal
- Compulsions to commit bestiality
- Mischief under $5,000
- Three counts of invitation to sexual touching (of a minor)
- Three counts of sexual interference (of a minor)
- Procuring of a person under 18 years of age
- Trafficking of a person under 18 years of age
- Three counts of obtaining sexual services for consideration(of a minor)
- Sexual assault with a weapon
- Sexual assault causing bodily harm (choking, suffocating or strangling)
- Two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm
- Two counts of luring for making child pornography
- Two counts of aggravated sexual assault
- Two counts of making child pornography
- Making child pornography available
- Four counts of possession of child pornography
- Accessing child pornography
- Assault with a weapon
- Assault with a weapon causing bodily harm
- Assault with a weapon (choking)
- Two counts of voyeurism
- Disobeying a lawful order (of non-communication)
In response to inquiries from Kingstonist, Const. Ash Gutheinz, Media Relations Officer for Kingston Police, said that the 95 charges laid against Haaima relate to 23 individual victims, noting that “the investigation is ongoing and additional victims may be identified.” That means that, since police first announced charges agains the Kingston man in July 2022, an additional 13 victims have come forward or been identified.
“The success of Project Shamrock is an important message that as a policing community, we continue to be committed to investigating and holding those who commit these predatory crimes accountable. We will work tirelessly to help reduce victimization and protect the most vulnerable in our communities,” Kingston Police Chief Antje McNeely said in a statement.
“I wish to thank our policing partners for their unwavering dedication and ongoing work in this important area.”
According to the OPP, Haaima is being held in custody, and police want to hear from any other potential victims. Anyone with additional information is urged to contact the OPP non-emergency number at 1-888-310-1122, or their local police services (Kingston Police at 613-549-4660 ext. 0 here in Kingston).
“If you or someone you know may be a victim of these crimes, call 911 immediately,” the OPP said.
The OPP also want the public to be aware that the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-833-900-1010, and that human trafficking resources are available at canadiancentretoendhumantrafficking.ca.