Category Archives: European community

HAMILTON: Janos Acs, victim of the Domotor-Kolompar human-trafficking ring, commits suicide

HUMAN TRAFFICKING VICTIM

HUMAN TRAFFICKING VICTIM

Cathie Coward,The Hamilton Spectator

Janos Acs was among more than 20 people rescued in 2009 by RCMP from the hands of human traffickers who lured them from their native Hungary on the false promise of work.

In the early evening hours of June 10, Janos Acs walked onto train tracks in central Hamilton and lay down to die.

The 60-year-old’s suicide, near Emerald Street North, ended a troubled life that authorities thought they had saved.

Acs was among more than 20 people rescued in 2009 by RCMP from the hands of human traffickers who lured them from their native Hungary on the false promise of work. Despite the successful prosecution of his abusers and that he and other victims were given safe haven in Canada, Acs lived out his free days moving in and out of shelters, struggling to find work and drinking heavily.

The now infamous Domotor-Kolompar criminal organization was dismantled in 2010 and stands as the largest human trafficking case in Canadian history. Twenty-three members of the extended family were convicted of various charges between 2012 and 2013.

“I feel very much betrayed and I’m pretty frustrated,” Janos Acs told the Spectator

Canada Border Services Agency regional director Goran Vragovic said he learned of Acs’ death on Tuesday morning, before a news conference announcing that 20 members of thecriminal organization had been deported.

“It’s a tragic conclusion to an already sad story,” he said.

MORE: “There is no room in Canada” for modern day slavery

Spectator readers first met Acs in a Hamilton shelter in December 2010. He was the first victim willing to speak publicly.

“I feel very much betrayed and I’m pretty frustrated. I’m kind of all alone and I have no friends to discuss the situation,” he said during an interview for a Spectator special investigation, The gypsy kings, that followed the human traffickers to Hungary.

Acs grew up in a small Hungarian village called Bakonybel and, despite being in his 50s, had never been outside Hungary. He was approached by a member of the organization and offered a construction job in Canada. Ignoring warnings from family, Acs said he agreed.

He immediately realized his mistake.

“When I came over here, the situation became a servant and master thing,” he said.

Acs spent seven months living in the basement of his captor’s Mohawk Road East home. Along with working without pay, he was coached to apply for social assistance and claim to be mentally handicapped.

On two occasions, he escaped from the home, once approaching a police officer on the street. The officers didn’t understand what he was saying, so he went back.

When RCMP showed up in late 2009 and offered him an escape, he agreed to leave. But life in a men’s shelter was not what he thought it was going to be. He had hoped to bring his then 30-year-old son to Canada, but that never happened.

“I appreciate that people are helping me here, but I just can’t get used to this. I don’t regret that I came to Canada, but I didn’t figure it was going to be like this.”

Hamilton police spokesperson Constable Debbie McGreal-Dinning confirmed police were called to the “sudden death” on June 10, in the area of Emerald Street North and Birge Street. The death was deemed non-criminal and McGreal-Dinning said she could not comment further.

Fellow victim Tamas Miko didn’t know Acs well — they were housed in different homes — but news of his death is shocking.

Miko’s family was rescued from Hungary after being threatened over his agreement to testify in court. They live every day in the shadow of the criminal organization.

“I can’t just move on,” he said, adding that there is “so much hatred inside of me.”

Miko has gone back to school to get his high school equivalency. For now, his family lives together, unable to find work, collecting Ontario Works. It’s not the life he imagined for himself when he chose to come to Canada.

Shelley Gilbert, co-ordinator of social work services at Legal Assistance of Windsor, works with Miko to sort through the “roller-coaster” of emotions caused by “living with the effects of human trafficking.”

She’s also invited him to share his story with social service and justice professionals.

Gilbert said there is “no five-minute solution” to the anxieties and other issues survivors are faced with. That’s why there is a need for long-term intensive case management.

Miko said he hopes to one day work to “save people” like Walk With Me founder Timea Nagy did.

Nagy met the human trafficking victims, including Acs, when they were first rescued and continued to support them throughout the court cases. At the time, the Hamilton-based human trafficking rescue organization was just getting started and Nagy largely worked out of her car and got calls on her cellphone at all hours.

Nagy, a native of Hungary and sex trafficking survivor, helped the victims find shelter and often acted as a translator.

Unlike most other victims who fled to different cities to avoid threats, Acs stayed in Hamilton.

“He was troubled,” Nagy said, adding that he was in and out of shelters.

In recent years, Walk With Me bought a safe house that can house up to five victims at once. However, as awareness about human trafficking grows so too has demand for the organization’s services.

Walk With Me gets about $200,000 in funding every year, but to keep up with demand, Nagy said they really need $400,000. They are currently not accepting new clients in the safe house. They are doing front line victim care, but no longer have the staff to respond at any hour.

There is no network of safe houses or rescue organizations across Canada. Many victims, like Acs, end up in shelters.

Burlington MP Mike Wallace, who chairs the federal government’s justice committee said the government is working to help human trafficking victims.

“Have we done enough? I would say most of us would say no, we could do more. But we are actually taking action to make that happen,” he said this week.

Wallace pointed to changes to Canada’s immigration law that allow human trafficking victims to be fast-tracked to permanent resident status.

This law change has allowed the Hungarian victims to stay in Canada.

Wallace also noted the victim bill of rights, which will be debated in the fall. He said this will make victims “part of judicial system to give them a voice.”

 

noreilly@thespec.com

905-526-3199 | @NicoleatTheSpec

Toronto resident arrested as part of StubHub fraud ring run by Russians

Toronto resident arrested as part of StubHub fraud ring

TU THANH HA The Globe and Mail

Published 

Last updated 

A suspected money-launderer in Toronto is among at least 10 people who have been arrested in an international crackdown on a cyberfraud ring alleged to have compromised 1,600 accounts of the online ticket seller StubHub.

New York County authorities announced on Wednesday they had indicted six men, including Vadim Polyakov, a 30-year-old Russian citizen who is portrayed as the man who directed the operation and who was arrested while he was travelling in Spain. Continue reading

Vancouver councillor Kerry Jang questionning “the stuff” Prof. Ricardo Duchesne presents in N.B. university setting

by CARLITO PABLO on JUN 26, 2014 at 12:36 PM

A UNIVERSITY OF New Brunswick professor can no longer use his academic affiliation to promote his personal views online about race relations, according to Vancouver councillor Kerry Jang.

The university will also review courses taught by social science professor Ricardo Duchesne, Jang told the Georgia Straight.

Earlier this month, Jang wrote UNB president H.E.A. Campbell about his concerns regarding blog posts and emails by Duchesne.

Duchesne writes on the site of the Council of European Canadians. The group describes itself as one that is opposed to “an establishment that is determined to destroy European Canada through fanatical immigration, race-mixing campaigns, imposition of a diversity curriculum, affirmative action in favor of non-Europeans, and promotion of white guilt”. Continue reading

Are Ukrainians in Canada trying to blackmail Canada?

 BY LEE BERTHIAUME, POSTMEDIA NEWS MARCH 5, 2014
OTTAWA — Federal political parties have been staunchly showing support for pro-Western aspirations in Ukraine and condemning Russian aggression in the Crimean peninsula. The fact there are more than 1.2 million Canadians of Ukrainian descent may help explain this.

An Ottawa Citizen analysis shows that Canadians identifying themselves as being of Ukrainian represent a potentially game-changing voting bloc in dozens of federal ridings. The fact ridings with large Ukrainian-Canadian populations in Toronto, Winnipeg and parts of Saskatchewan were hotly contested in 2011 speaks to the importance of each party being active on Ukraine. Continue reading

Canada’s Federal Skilled Trades program welcomes first plumber and electrician, both from Ireland

Canada’s new immigration program welcomes first plumber and electrician
To date, the majority of the successful applicants have come from Europe, including Germany, Ireland, Latvia and Lithuania, with some from India.

Eric Byrne, 31, who immigrated to Canada under the Federal Skilled Trades program as a plumber, receives a hockey jersey from Immigration Minister Chris Alexander at a Thornhill construction site Friday. Continue reading

Permanent resident files prioritized

Foreign service job action threatens Canada’s annual immigration target

The number of immigrant visas granted from this summer dropped 7.5 per cent, while temporary visitor visas were up 11 per cent.

STEPHAN POTOPNYK PHOTO

Sarah Hedley applied in November to sponsor her British husband, Christopher Hedley, as a permanent resident from within Canada. She said the expected processing time for the first stage of the application has been extended to 10 months from six months.

By:  Immigration reporter, Published on Tue Sep 10 2013
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Permanent residency applicants appear to be taking the biggest hit from ongoing job action by foreign affairs officers, prompting concerns about whether Ottawa’s 2013 immigration target can be met. Continue reading

B.C.: Officer who was RCMP spokesman during Dziekanski incident kills himself

B.C. coroner confirms suicide of former RCMP spokesman
JAMES KELLER
VANCOUVER — The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, Aug. 15 2013, 7:54 PM EDT

Last updated Thursday, Aug. 15 2013, 10:07 PM EDT
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A former RCMP spokesman who became the face of the Mounties in the early days of the Robert Dziekanski story, only to face allegations that he and the force misled the public about what happened during the Polish immigrant’s fatal confrontation with police, has died by suicide, the B.C. Coroners Service confirmed Thursday.

Officer who was RCMP’s public face during Dziekanski incident found dead

Pierre Lemaitre died on July 29 after he was found hanging in his home in Abbotsford, the coroner’s service said in a news release. Emergency personnel attended Lemaitre’s home, but could not resuscitate him. Continue reading

Toronto: Christopher Kotsopoulos shot to death near Queensway and Windermere Avenue

Police identify west-end homicide victim
Vidya Kauri 
The Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, Aug. 06 2013, 1:30 PM EDT

Last updated Tuesday, Aug. 06 2013, 1:53 PM EDT

Toronto police have identified the victim of a homicide that took place Monday.

Christopher Kotsopoulos, 26, was found with an obvious gunshot wound to his chest in a Toronto housing complex near The Queensway and Windermere Avenue, according to Toronto police spokeswoman Constable Wendy Drummond. Continue reading

Russian gays have great chances to be accepted as refugees in Canada

Canada’s refugee board is likely to look favourably on claims of persecution by gay asylum-seekers from Russia, the Immigration Minister says.

Canada to favour refugee claims by gay Russians
DANIEL BITONTI and CAMPBELL CLARK
The Globe and Mail

Published Monday, Aug. 12 2013, 10:40 PM EDT

Last updated Monday, Aug. 12 2013, 10:50 PM EDT
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Canada’s refugee board is likely to look favourably on claims of persecution by gay asylum-seekers from Russia, the Immigration Minister says.

Chris Alexander said Monday in Surrey, B.C., that Russia has taken the wrong path in restricting the fundamental rights of its gay community, and that any refugee claims “related to this particular issue will of course be looked at very seriously by our very generous system.” Continue reading