Canada: ‘This is modern-day slavery’: Police describe rescue of foreign workers in Simcoe County - PressFrom - Canada
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Canada‘This is modern-day slavery’: Police describe rescue of foreign workers in Simcoe County

23:35  11 february  2019
23:35  11 february  2019 Source:   thestar.com

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Modern slavery can affect people of any age, gender or race. However, most commonly, slavery affects people and communities who are vulnerable to Or it might be someone who happens to be born to a mother coming from a ‘ slave ’ cast, literally owned by their masters from the day they are born.

Contemporary slavery , also known as modern slavery or neo- slavery , refers to institutional slavery that continues to exist in present day society.

‘This is modern-day slavery’: Police describe rescue of foreign workers in Simcoe County © Provided by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited Mexican workers rescued during a “labour human trafficking” raid were being housed in squalid conditions, police say.

Forty-three foreign workers who were allegedly exploited by human traffickers now have housing and employment after police rescued them during raids in Barrie and Wasaga Beach last week.

During a news conference in Barrie Monday, police revealed a “very disturbing” operation that brought men from Mexico with promises of work visas, education or permanent residency.

Instead, the men were housed in squalid conditions and allegedly forced to work as cleaners in Collingwood, Innisfil, Oro-Medonte and Cornwall, and charged fees for accommodation and food.

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Modern - day slavery in focus is supported by. Children have become a preferred target for traffickers, the report warns, amid growing concern over the fate of unaccompanied child refugees who have disappeared from official view since arriving in Europe .

Modern day slavery is different from both smuggling and human trafficking, though the three are intertwined. Smuggling refers to the facilitation of the entry of a person into a place of which they are not a citizen, resident, or authorized visitor. This is done in order to obtain financial or other material

“These workers were sometimes left with less than $50 a month,” deputy OPP commissioner Rick Barnum told reporters. “One of the victims told us ‘Last night, I went to bed a slave. This morning I am a free man.’”

The joint-investigation involving the OPP, Barrie police, and Canada Border Services Agency, used 250 front-line officers to execute 12 search warrants in Barrie and Wasaga Beach on Feb. 5 to rescue the workers, ranging in age from 20 to 46.

Barrie Police Chief Kimberly Greenwood said the operation took a “victims-first” approach, focusing on the safety of the workers before criminal charges against suspects.

“They were given showers, food and medical assessments before any police interviews,” she said.

Greenwood credited Mapleview Community Church in Barrie for immediately taking in victims after the raids and a Simcoe County resort for providing housing and employment.

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Many migrant workers in UK are modern - day slaves , say investigators. Channel 4's Dispatches says thousands of workers The programme also investigates claims that foreign diplomats are among the worst offenders. The Metropolitan police specialised crime unit specifically targets forced labour

Latest Modern - day slavery in focus news, comment and analysis from the Guardian, the world's leading liberal voice. This website is supported, in part, by Humanity United. It is editorially independent and its purpose is to focus on modern - day slavery .

“To me, this is what it means to be Canadian — stepping up when you are needed. They are now free from the people who (allegedly) wished to exploit them for personal gain.”

A hotel operator who had hired some of the workers through a temporary employment agency has now freed up some of his rooms to house them.

“We paid directly to a temp agency and had no idea how they were treated,” he told the Star’s Nicholas Keung. “We just feel so shocked and sad from a moral and humanitarian point of view, and wanted to do something to support them.”

Police say the foreign workers were allegedly under the control of two people who operate a cleaning company out of Barrie. The company had contracts with three businesses in Collingwood as well as businesses in Oro-Medonte, Innisfil and Cornwall. Police say those companies were not aware of the alleged human trafficking operation.

Barnum told reporters the investigation continues as officers focus on who is behind the operation.

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Modern - day slavery in focus is supported by. This is my first time in Singapore, and it cost me S,000 (£10,175) to get here. I was told I could earn S,000 a month as a construction worker , but I had to pay S,000 to the training centre and another S,000 in agent fees before I could arrive.

Modern - day slaves can be found laboring as servants or concubines in Sudan, as child Some of the cane-cutters sign on to work voluntarily. When the number of workers does not meet the Accounts of human beings as modern slaves extend beyond those described here, and include young girls

“This is modern-day slavery. We are not taking away from the criminal act,” he said. “We hope to discover where every dollar went.”

Barnum said investigators know the whereabouts of the two cleaning company operators and are looking for other possible suspects.

“We don’t know if there are more. These are difficult investigations. We don’t want to rush this.”

Police say the workers were recruited in Mexico, where they allegedly paid traffickers “large sums of money” to leave their homes to work in Canada.

“They were coached on what to say when they entered Canada,” Barnum said. “They were not here illegally.”

Andrew Robert, chief of Simcoe County paramedics, told simcoe.com the workers showed no signs of illness when they were assessed.

Robert praised the entire operation saying it was “quite moving” to see how the workers were treated as victims first by front-line responders.

Police are encouraging victims of alleged labour human trafficking to come forward.

“Whether it involves forced labour or the sex trade, human trafficking is not welcome and has no place in the community,” Greenwood said.

With files from Nicholas Keung

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