A traffic stop for speeding in Saskatchewan has resulted in human trafficking-related charges against four people from Vancouver Island.
According to Saskatchewan RCMP, on Jan. 28, an off-duty RCMP officer saw three vehicles heading east and speeding on Highway 1 toward Swift Current.
Police said the three vehicles appeared to be travelling together as they were driving in close proximity, were going in the same direction and travelling at the same speed.
The drivers were intercepted and all three vehicles were pulled over for driving at 153 km/h as a group.
Police said during the traffic stop, officers discovered several violations of the Saskatchewan Traffic Safety Act. Then while speaking to the drivers and the passengers in the vehicles, officers became suspicious of the relationships between them.
Police said two young female passengers were found in separate vehicles, each with tinted windows. They were sitting in the back seat with no identification.
RCMP said in a news release that these were some indicators of human trafficking-related activity. Swift Current RCMP arrested three men and one woman for human trafficking-related offences.
Victoria residents Shermineh Sheri Ziaee, 36, and Shawn Alexander Kelly, 23, along with Nanaimo residents Seyed Kourosh Miralinaghi, 19, and Seyed Kamran Miralinaghi, 19, are facing multiple charges. These include receiving financial benefit knowing it was obtained from the commission of an offence, transport of a person under the age of 18 for the purpose of exploiting them, procuring a person to offer or provide sexual services, harbouring a person who offers or provides sexual services for consideration, or exercised control or movement of that person, and knowlying advertise an offer to provide sexual services. Ziaee is also facing one charge of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
All four are scheduled to appear in Swift Current Provincial Court on Friday morning.
The two female passengers are from B.C., police said, and are not related to the accused. Police will not be releasing their names.
Police say they are continuing to investigate the incident.