A group of 43 Mexicans were released in Canada after being forced to work almost gratuitously in hotels as “modern slaves,” police said Monday.
The workers, mostly men, had been lured to Canada by traffickers who, in exchange for a large sum of money, promised that they could study there and obtain work visas and a permanent residence status.
But once there they were housed in “sordid conditions” in cities in central and eastern Ontario and forced to work in hotels in the area, police said at a press conference.
The two heads of a cleaning company in the Barrie, Ontario area, who worked with hotels in the area, are targeted by investigators, even though they were not arrested.
The police are looking for more suspects and charges may be announced in the coming days.
“The trafficking of human beings is a modern form of slavery,” Assistant Commissioner Rick Barnum told reporters. “Exploitation is at the heart of this crime.”
The workers had to pay for their housing, food and transportation to their places of work. Their salaries were controlled by their employers, who sometimes gave them less than US $ 33 a month to live.
“It is unthinkable that this has happened in our community,” said Barrie Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood.
After an investigation that mobilized some 250 police officers, the Mexicans were able to regain their freedom last week. According to Barnum, one of the victims told the police: “Yesterday I went to sleep like a slave and this morning I get up like a free man.”
All these workers were in a regular situation, said the police. In recent days, they were offered a job and relocated to the Barrie area.
Source: Notimex, MSN
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