Ontario frees 43 'modern day slaves' in alleged human trafficking ring

Police hold press conference

Police hold press conference

OPP Deputy Commissioner Rick Barnum says they were living in "squalid" conditions and made to pay large sums of money to their alleged traffickers, while sometimes making as little as $50 per month for their work.

Police in Ontario have freed dozens of people from a human trafficking operation officials likened to "modern day slavery".

Police executed 12 warrants on February 5, and rescued the 43 victims who were then provided hot showers, food and fresh clothing before interviews were conducted. They were then transported by the alleged traffickers to and from work locations.

All police agencies indicated at the news conference that the investigation is ongoing and criminal charges are expected to be laid at a later date.

She said labour human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation and harbouring of people for the purposes of exploitation for forced labour.

A number of sources told police past year that a Barrie-based cleaning company, run by two people, was trafficking and defrauding the Mexican-born workers.

The Mexican workers have since been offered accommodations and legitimate employment at a local resort, said Ms. Greenwood, adding that those individuals are communicating with Immigration and Refugees Canada about their status in the country.

BC Ferries cancels evening sailings due to snow
Snowfall hit the Metro Vancouver region quickly and swiftly on Sunday afternoon, with up to 10 centimetres expected. Highway 19 from Black Creek to Nanoose Bay appears to be rapidly gathering snow, along with the Old Island Highway.

"Some arrived here with the promise of a work visa and work being offered", he said. Investigators are digging into the background of the "two people" who ran the cleaning company but they have not been charged.

According to Barrie police Chief Kimberly Greenwood, a "significant portion of time" was spent considering the immediate and long-term needs of the victims. Victims rarely go to the authorities.

"It is inconceivable that this was taking place in our community", she added.

Greenwood said the 43 were in brought "under misleading circumstances", promised safer lives and more opportunities.

Police say once they were rescued, the victims were given food, access to a hot shower, clean clothing and were medically assessed.

"We don't want to identify the resorts specifically, but what we can say is that all of them have been very co-operative with the police since being made aware of the situation", said OPP Det. "It has no place in our communities and will not be tolerated".

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.