Details emerge in human trafficking case after cousin of Tina Fontaine charged
Josh Crabb, CTV Winnipeg
Published Friday, June 12, 2015 4:02PM CST
Last Updated Friday, June 12, 2015 5:52PM CST
An apartment building on Furby Street is where the Crown alleges a 17-year-old girl, who cannot be named, was held against her will and forced into the sex trade.
Two men, Jesse Thomas and Eric Wirffel, and the tenant, Jeannene Fontaine, were arrested last week on charges of human trafficking.
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a fourth man, Clinton Wirffel.
Details of the case emerged this week in court during a bail hearing for Fontaine - the first cousin of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine, whose body was discovered in the Red River in August 2014.
A family member told CTV News Tina spent time at the same apartment now at the centre of the human trafficking case before her death, but sources said there's no link between the two cases beyond the family connection.
Tina’s great-aunt, Thelma Favel, said she’s shocked to hear of the allegations against her great niece.
“It broke my heart all over again,” said Favel. “The saddest part, it’s a relative of mine.”
The Crown said the 17-year-old victim was brought to the apartment and told by Thomas, "She is going to start making him money in the sex trade,” said Crown attorney Alanna Littman.
“The victim is then forced into the sex trade through threats to her family and through physical violence," said Littman.
The Crown said the victim tried to leave but was stopped and photos were taken on Jeannene Fontaine's phone - images which the Crown said were advertised online where clients responded to engage in sex with the girl.
"Between May 20th and June 1st the victim provided sexual services in exchange for money to what she believes to be at least more than 20, upwards of 50, men," said Littman.
The victim was eventually given enough trust to leave the apartment on her own.
She went to police and the arrests were made.
Jeannene Fontaine "vehemently denies the allegation” and said she was bullied into allowing Thomas and Eric and Clinton Wirffel into her apartment.
Jeannene Fontaine was released on bail. Eric Wirffel and Jesse Thomas remain in custody.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.