4 arrested in underage prostitution operation

Windsor Police Service News Update
May 9, 2024
Case #: 24-48572, 24-45749, 24-46142, 24-46185
4 arrested in underage prostitution operation

The Windsor Police Service (WPS) and Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have arrested four men during an undercover operation targeting individuals seeking sex with underage girls. 

Last month, members of the WPS Morality Unit and OPP Intelligence-Led Joint Forces Strategy Anti Human Trafficking Unit teamed up to conduct an undercover prostitution operation in Windsor. The officers used a popular website to communicate with suspects attempting to offer money to an underage girl in exchange for sexual acts. 

In online conversations, the suspects negotiated a specific price with an undercover officer posing as a 16-year-old girl and then agreed to meet at a location to engage in sexual activities. When the suspects arrived at the designated meeting spot, they were promptly arrested by police. 

The following individuals have each been charged with obtaining sexual services from a person under 18 years of age: 

  • Wissam Charaf, 28, of Windsor
  • Stephen Merner, 59, no fixed address  
  • James Pernal, 46, of Essex
  • Jianwen Yang, 61, of Windsor 

“Protecting our children from exploitation is of paramount importance,” said Windsor Police Inspector David DeLuca. “Through this joint operation, we successfully targeted individuals who not only solicited youth online but were prepared to move forward and commit those acts.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Windsor Police Morality Unit at 519-255-6700, ext. 4343. They can also submit tips anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.catchcrooks.com.

If you or someone you know is an affected person in need of support, please call Victim Services Windsor Essex County at 519-723-2711 or the Victim Assistance Unit at Windsor Police at 519-255-6700, ext. 4879.

For further information:
Contact the WPS Corporate Communication Unit's Public Information Officer at (519) 255-6700 ext. 4441.

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