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Human trafficking charges laid against Langley woman

Jennifer Lynn Stephens faces 14 charges including assault, trafficking a minor

A Langley woman has been charged with 14 counts related to human trafficking, including assault, after a months-long investigation by local RCMP.

Jennifer Lynn Stephens is in custody awaiting her next court hearing. Persons charged with a criminal offence are considered not guilty until the charges are proven in court.

The investigation began on March 7 this year with a 9-1-1 call from a gas station near a hotel in the 20400-block of 88th Avenue in the Walnut Grove neighbourhood.

The station attendant had called the emergency line after an injured, distressed woman walked in and asked someone to call the police.

The first officers on the scene provided first aid, and were directed to the nearby hotel.

That began the investigation that led to Stephens’ arrest and charges of assault.

In July, Stephens was scheduled to appear in court, but did not show up. The court issued a Canada-wide warrant for her arrest.

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Meanwhile, the investigation that had begun in March continued through the summer and fall as police looked for Stephens.

“Due to the often-hidden nature and complexity of these offences, human trafficking charges are rare in Canada,” said Insp. Erica Moir, operations supportofficer of Langley RCMP.

“Our investigators worked closely with partners allowing us to support the victims, identify a suspect and successfully obtain the evidence necessary to forward criminal charges.”

Those partners included the Surrey RCMP, the Vancouver Police Department’s human trafficking unit, the RCMP E Division’s behavioural dciences unit, RCMP digital forensic services, and the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit – British Columbia (CFSEU-BC) interview team.

Moir said their assistance was invaluable in the investigation.

Stephens was located in the Lower Mainland on Dec. 7, and Langley serious crime investigators arrested her on her outstanding warrants.

She now faces charges of:

• Trafficking in persons

• Trafficking a person under 18 years old

• Receiving a material benefit from sexual services

• Two counts of procuring a person under 18 years old

• Two counts of receiving a material benefit from trafficking a person under 18 years old

• Receiving a material benefit from the sexual services of a person under 18 years old

• Forcible confinement

• Assault causing bodily harm

• Two counts of assault with a weapon

• Uttering threats

• Advertising sexual services

In addition, a Jennifer Lynn Stephens is facing charges in Surrey including unlawful confinement, robbery, assault with a weapon, and assault causing bodily harm, in a separate investigation.

Moir encouraged anyone who is a victim of human trafficking, or who knows someone who is, to call the local police department, or the 24-hour Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-833-900-1010 or you can Reach out to The Canadian Centre To End Human Trafficking.

Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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