CALGARY — By day, she runs a tidy little hair salon in Calgary, drives a Hummer and loves her little dogs.
But police allege the 52-year-old woman offered to sell two women for $8,000 to undercover police posing as men wanting to get into the bawdy-house business.
It is one of two investigations leading to charges of human trafficking, a charge added to the Criminal Code several years ago.
Supt. Roger Chaffin said the cases mark the first time such charges have been laid in Calgary.
“They were offered the opportunity to purchase these two girls,” he said of one case.
“It’s common in terms of what goes on globally … it’s shocking thing to see humans traded for money and a relatively low amount of money.”
The investigation began when police found an online ad for erotic services by young Asian women.
They allege a woman arranged appointments, posted ads, and gave directions to the bawdy houses while posing as a hair stylist at Alternative Hair Design.
The women, advertised as teens, are both from China and actually 25 and 41. Police say one is a permanent resident and the other is illegally in Canada and in custody facing deportation proceedings.
Vice Staff Sgt. Colin Adair said the women lived out of suitcases and moved from location to location to be sexually exploited.
He said they struggled with English, had very little contact with the community and rarely left the home with food often brought to them.
They also believe the women were moved from city to city.
“It’s appalling somebody can actually be purchased .. at any price,” he said.
Lisa White of Canada Border Services said the agency has investigated in the past two years about 30 people in relation to bawdy houses in Calgary — of those, eight women were deported.
Linh Quy To of Calgary is charged with unlawfully keeping a common bawdy house, trafficking in persons and numerous other charges including living of the avails of prostitution.
Crown and defence lawyers are trying to set up a bail hearing for To, who made a brief appearance in provincial court Wednesday assisted by a Vietnamese interpreter.
Police also charged a man they allege lured young women to the city from other parts of Canada with the promise of modelling careers before forcing them into prostitution.
Codie Toby Cardinal, 38, faces charges that include human trafficking and living on the avails of prostitution.