Ontario police free 43 from 'modern day slavery'

  • Ontario police free 43 from 'modern day slavery'

Ontario police free 43 from 'modern day slavery'

The provincial police and the Barrie, Ont., city force said they launched an investigation into the alleged scam previous year after receiving multiple tips from the public.

"The commodity being bought and sold is people". Barnum says they sometimes would have as little as $50 per month after paying fees to their employers. "Human trafficking is modern-day slavery", OPP deputy commissioner Rick Barnum said. "Exploitation is the key element of this offence".

"Whether it involves forced labour or the sex trade, the trafficking of humans is unacceptable".

The workers, whose hometowns were not released, arrived in Canada by plane, a police spokesman said.

According to police, they were lured to Canada from Mexico with the promise of working visas, education and permanent residency.

Instead, he says they were forced to live in "squalid" conditions and made to pay their alleged traffickers large sums of money.

Barnum says human-trafficking victims are often from extremely vulnerable populations, including migrant workers and new immigrants.

Since 2018, police began investigating information that suggested Mexican-born workers were being trafficked and/or defrauded by a cleaning company based in Barrie, which was contracted to do work at various resorts in Collingwood, Innisfil, Oro-Medonte and Cornwall.

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.

After the victims were rescued, Greenwood said they went to a Barrie and Area Victim Services centre, where they were offered hot showers, food and clothing, and given medical assessments. "If you are a victim of human trafficking, please, call the police", said Greenwood.

"This is an ongoing investigation that is quite complex and if victims are identified through our investigation, then we will certainly connect with them and ensure they have their needs met whether they may be immediate or long-term needs".

Criminal charges may be announced at a later date and police said they are looking for other suspects.