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Ottawa man faces 26 human trafficking charges and used dating apps to lure victims

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An Ottawa man who allegedly used dating apps and other social media platforms to lure victims now faces 26 charges related to human trafficking, according to Ottawa police.

Reza Marandi, 42, has used aliases such as Razzer Sharpe and Sammy Majour online, police said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

The charges stem from incidents that allegedly occurred between the spring of 2016 and April 2022.

“The predatory and historical nature of this ongoing investigation suggests that more crimes have been committed during this period,” the statement said.

Police said they were taking an “extra step” by releasing Marandi’s photo because other victims may not know his legal name.

The Ottawa Police Human Trafficking Unit began investigating the man after a survivor came forward to police last month and said he corroborated the information through multiple means of investigation.

Ottawa police have released two photos of Reza Marandi as they believe there may be other victims who may not know the man’s legal name. (Submitted by Ottawa Police Service)

The unit says it has the resources to support other victims, but will respect their wishes about whether they wish to pursue the case in court.

“Reporting of these incidents by victims to police is critical for investigators to identify suspects and determine crime trends.”

Marandi’s charges include administering a noxious thing; forced detention; material benefit from sexual services; financial benefit for trafficking a person over the age of 18; recruiting a person to provide sexual services; advertise the sexual services of another person; possession of child pornography, among other charges, including several sexual assault offences.

None of these allegations have been proven in court. Marandi was due to appear in court on Wednesday.

Anyone with information regarding such incidents is asked to call the Ottawa Police human trafficking unit at 613-236-1222 ext. 5005 or 1-800-292-1168.