Forced to live in ‘squalid conditions,’ pay alleged traffickers large sums of money

BARRIE, Ont. (CP) — Police say they have freed 43 “modern day slaves” from Mexico who were allegedly forced to work as cleaners at a hotel and vacation properties in central and eastern Ontario.

Officers with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and Barrie police began investigating the alleged scam last year, culminating in 12 search warrants that they executed last week.

OPP deputy commissioner Rick Barnum says the alleged victims were lured to Canada believing they would be offered legitimate employment and educational opportunities.

He says they were instead forced to live in “squalid” conditions and made to pay their alleged traffickers large sums of money.

After paying various fees to their employers, Barnum says the alleged victims would sometimes make as little as $50 per month for daily work.

There’s no word on criminal charges, but Barnum says they may come later.

Police say they are keeping close track of two people who were running the company that employed the foreign workers as the investigation continues.



Originally posted on on February 11, 2019