Men from Guelph, Waterloo Region among those arrested in Project Maverick

Ontario Provincial Police have announced arrests and charges in an investigation related to child sexual exploitation, better known as Project Maverick.

OPP, along with 26 Ontario municipal police forces including Guelph and Waterloo Region, made a total of 107 arrests and laid 428 charges during the month of October.

This is part of the Provincial Strategy to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation on the Internet that was established in 2006.

Among those arrested and charged, four are from Cambridge (adult males between 25 and 39), one is from Kitchener (adult male, 38), and one is from Guelph (adult male, 38).

Police said in a news release, that there were 255 investigations resulting in 168 search warrants being executed and 1,032 devices seized.

They say 61 victims have been identified and referred to appropriate community-based resources for assistance; the identities of 60 more victims have been kept safeguarded.

OPP say there are 175 investigations that are still ongoing and more charges could be laid as a result.

They say people are being encouraged to report any instances of online child abuse to police or cybertip.ca.

Anyone who knows of a child being harmed should call 9-1-1.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of exploitation, help is available:

• Visit the Department of Justice’s Victim Services Directory for a list of support services for people experiencing abuse in your area.
• Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free) Available 24/7 or Text CONNECT 686868

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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