TORONTO: Dozens of officers raid apartment buildings in human trafficking investigation

 Toronto police conducted a raid at an apartment building in Toronto’s west end early Thursday morning.
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Kendra Mangione, CTVNews.ca Writer

@kendramangione

A man is escorted to a police car following a raid in Toronto’s west end on Thursday, April 2, 2015.

Published Thursday, April 2, 2015 7:46AM EDT

Toronto police raided a cluster of apartment buildings in the city’s west end as part of a human trafficking investigation.

Dozens of officers filtered through the buildings on Chalkfarm Drive, near Jane Street and Wilson Avenue, before dawn on Thursday.

Police said the sex crimes unit raided the buildings, acting on several search warrants, but would not provide further details.

Several people were seen being taken into custody, but police have not said exactly how many people were arrested, or what charges had been laid.

Toronto Police Sex Crimes Unit Insp. Joanna Beaven-Desjardins is expected to speak at a news conference scheduled for 10 a.m. at police headquarters.

Asian-based human-smuggling and prostitution ring busted

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The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, April 1, 2015 4:53PM EDT

The RCMP says it has broken up a Canada-wide prostitution ring that allegedly smuggled as many as 500 Asian women into the country over an unspecified period.

Federal authorities announced today they’ve broken up two major cells of the network in the last five days and arrested six people in the greater Montreal and Toronto areas.

The accused are allegedly part of an Asian-based organized crime ring that operated in Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

They face a host of charges including procuring, procuring minors, advertising sexual services and gaining a material benefit from sexual services.

Police say the alleged victims, mainly from Korea and China, received assistance from a criminal organization to enter the country and were then controlled and exploited by the prostitution ring.

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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

Hungarian Roma human traffickers deported from Canada

Josh Elliott, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, July 22, 2014 10:48AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 22, 2014 2:56PM EDT

The federal government has announced that 20 members of a large human trafficking ring based out of Hamilton, Ont. have been deported from Canada.

The 20 deported individuals were members of the Domotor-Kolompar ring and helped run the largest proven human trafficking ring in Canada, according to the statement put out by the border agency. As of Tuesday, at least 22 members of this ring have been convicted on human trafficking charges, the BSA has confirmed. All but two were deported.

The Domotor-Kolompar family brought Hungarians from their hometown to Canada with the promise of work and a better life in the Hamilton area, Canadian officials said. But the Hungarians who came over were subjected to brutal living conditions without adequate food and forced to work construction jobs for free. The human traffickers used intimidation and threats of violence to keep their victims in line, officials said.

“This flagrant abuse of persons in our immigration system demanded a strong response,” Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said in a news conference Tuesday.

Toronto: Asian store owners cram at least 32 employees into two suburban houses

http://www.lfpress.com/2013/04/15/house-owners-fined-after-32-people-found-living-in-two-single-family-homes

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These homes help us embrace the rich cultural heritage of diverse working conditions

The owners of an Asian grocery store housing employees on Beaverbrook Ave. have been fined after bylaw officers found at least 32 people living in the two single-family homes.

Food Island, a store on Wonderland Rd. and Oxford St., came into the spotlight in January after a stabbing near a home several blocks away.

The owners face fines of $3,500.

After the stabbing, several neighbours complained about the number of people living at 1703 and 1709 Beaverbrook Ave.

Both homes are zoned as residential, meaning they can’t have more than five bedrooms each.

However, a total of 17 bedrooms were constructed – eight at 1709 and nine at 1703, said Orest Katolyk, the city’s bylaw manager.

“This was one of the most intensified single detached dwellings we have seen,” Katolyk said.

“Based on a bed count, a minimum of 32 occupants resided at these homes in this developing area.”

Beaverbrook Ave., is within walking distance of Food Island. The two homes were build less than five years go, Katolyk said.

The additional bedrooms were constructed mostly in the basement, he said.

“The bedrooms were for multiple occupancy. There were basically mattresses everywhere,” Katolyk said.

Curtis Nguyen, a store manager who spoke on behalf of the owners, who don’t speak English, said Monday the additional bedrooms were taken down shortly after the police and bylaw officer presence in January.

Vancouver: Charged with human trafficking, Reza Moazami now facing additional charges

 

Reza Moazami accused of pimping girls as young as 14-years-old
Read more: http://bc.ctvnews.ca/accused-pimp-posed-as-woman-on-facebook-docs-1.935102#ixzz2GNeVmMqE

Human trafficking suspect faces additional charges
CBC News Posted: Dec 28, 2012 10:02 AM PT Last Updated: Dec 28, 2012 11:40 AM PT
A Vancouver man facing human trafficking charges is now facing additional charges after allegedly breaching his court-ordered conditions.

Reza Moazami, 28, was arrested last year and charged with a number of criminal offences, including trafficking, sexual exploitation and living off the avails of a juvenile.

Vancouver police say Moazami was arrested on Dec. 18 after he allegedly contacted one of his victims through other people.

He has been charged with breach of a court order and obstruction of justice.

A 22-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man were also arrested as a result of the investigation.