First Nations police investigate allegations young girl was sexually exploited

The band council ordered treatment plant workers out of the community about 180 km northwest of Winnipeg last week.

Logo of the Manitoba First Nations Police Service. Photo: APTN

The Manitoba First Nations Police Service confirms it is investigating allegations that some workers on a water treatment plant construction project in Sandy Bay Ojibway Nation were sexually exploiting an under-age female.

Insp. Jason Colon said police were notified of possible sexual offences by a relative “involving a victim who is a minor” on Aug. 23.

“Our officers immediately commenced an investigation,” Colon said in an email to APTN News Monday.

“Since we are involved in a very active investigation, we cannot comment on the nature of the offences or provide any further information which could identify the victim.”

Sandy Bay is located about 180 km northwest of Winnipeg.

Alaya McIvor is a Winnipeg-based activist who works to stop violence against women and girls. Photo: submitted

Alaya McIvor, a member of Sandy Bay and a Winnipeg-based advocate for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, said she learned about the allegations on a recent trip to the community and through an online group.

She alleged a “young Indigenous woman” was “sex trafficked” by construction workers living and working in the community, and said they were ordered out of the community by the chief and council last week.

“Workers from off the reserve working on the treatment plant were holding this child hostage/captive,” McIvor claimed in a post she made on Facebook and shared with APTN.

She alleged the construction workers “made videos and took photos of [the minor on cellphone] while perforing sexual acts on them and were circulating them.”

She said she had not seen these videos or photos, but said that the chief and council had.

Also alleged

McIvor also alleged that drugs were involved.

Sandy Bay Chief Trevor Prince did not respond to numerous attempts by APTN to contact him for comment.

A spokesperson for Penn-Co, a construction company based in southern Manitoba, confirmed his employees were ordered out of the community by the band council last week.

“Yes, we were there,” Rick Penner said from the company’s head office Monday. “We understand there have been some serious allegations.”

Penner, vice-president of Human Resources, said the company was “at the tail end” of building a new water treatment plant in Sandy Bay after successfully bidding on a tender issued by the federal government and commencing work in 2021.

In the community

He said employees were living in the community, but he didn’t recognize some of the names of the workers supplied to the company by the band.

He said senior company officials were aware of a band council resolution but he had not seen it.

“The authorities have not contacted us,” Penner added, noting the company was aware there were “legal ramifications” and would “cooperate fully.”

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