This article originally appeared on VICE Canada
This weekend, Derek Bissue—better known to rap fans as Derek Wise, a member of Toronto's downtown-based rap crew Get Home Safe (GHS) who is affiliated with the Weeknd's XO crew—was arrested on 15 charges connected to a human trafficking investigation. The 22-year-old Mississauga native was taken into custody after allegations were brought forward by a 21-year-old woman who was working as an exotic dancer and says she was forced into the sex trade by Bissue.
Bissue rose to prominence in the Toronto music scene after he released a number of rap singles and videos that garnered tens of thousands of views on his YouTube and Soundcloud pages. He has been covered by loads of North American music publications, including our music site Noisey; his video for "Kenzo" has amassed over 30,000 plays on YouTube and the Soundcloud release for his single "Lake" has been played over 40,000 times.
The charges faced by Bissue include trafficking in persons, uttering threats of death and bodily harm, two counts of overcoming resistance by choking, robbery, weapons charges, and three counts of theft under $5,000.
Bissue attracted the attention of XO earlier this year, which led to him appearing in The Weeknd's music video for "King of the Fall," which has been viewed more than 6 million times. Until this morning, Derek's Twitter bio mentioned that he was a part of both the XO and GHS collectives, but that bio has since been changed to remove all mention of XO. When reached for this story, a representative from XO declined to comment.
In a 50-page report published in June, the Alliance Against Modern Slavery named Toronto the "most common destination" of human trafficking in Ontario. Bissue is currently in police custody and awaiting trial. A spokesperson from GHS said that a formal statement on Bissue's situation is forthcoming. We will update this story as it develops.
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