Ottawa police laid 11 prostitution-related charges in the case of a Gatineau woman for offences that occurred in Ottawa between October 2007 and July 2008. These charges are in addition to the 16 counts she already faces from Gatineau police.

Laura Emerson, 28, was charged on Wednesday in connection with crimes relating to four female victims. The victims were between the ages of 15 and 20 at the time of the offences.

Emerson is also accused of extorting money from an adult male victim who wanted to help two female victims trying to leave her control.

She was charged on two counts of living off the avails of an underage prostitute, two counts of extortion and three counts of exercising control. Emerson was also charged on one count of attempting to procure someone under the age of 18 for prostitution, one count of procuring someone under 18 for prostitution, one count of uttering threats and one count of living off the avails of prostitution.

Emerson is currently being held in police custody in Quebec. She is set to appear in an Ottawa court at an as yet to be determined date.

Of the 16 charges Emerson faces from Gatineau police, the most serious is for human trafficking, a recent addition to the Criminal Code that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. The other charges are similar to those from the Ottawa police and also include forcible confinement and assault.

Emerson and her boyfriend, 33-year-old Gordon Kingsbury, were accused of holding teenage girls as sex slaves in a Gatineau apartment. Kingsbury faces charges of sexual assaults and breach of probation from the Gatineau police.

The Gatineau charges came after three 17-year-old girls were picked up near homeless shelters in Ottawa and allegedly fed drugs, beaten, sexually assaulted and held against their will in the Gatineau apartment for one year.

Police learned about the case after one of the girls managed to escape and sought help from a passerby in late July.

Anyone with information in relation to this matter is asked to call the Ottawa Police Service at 613-236-1222 ext. 5143 or Crime Stoppers at 613-233-8477 (TIPS) or toll free at 1-800-222-8477.

Victims of prostitution are encouraged to contact the Ottawa Police Service Victim Crisis Section for information and community resources at 613- 236-1222 ext. 5822.