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First human trafficking charges
VIDEO Source CTV
MONTREAL – It was during the few occasions an Ethiopian nanny was allowed to leave the home where she worked around the clock that people began to take notice that something just wasn't right.
If not for those anonymous tipsters, the RCMP believes the 29-year-old woman would still be slaving away in the Montreal-area home today.
"She was essentially a prisoner," RCMP spokeswoman Magdala Turpin told reporters on Friday.
A couple has been charged with human trafficking. The Mounties say the arrests are the first of their kind in Canada since criminal laws were introduced in November 2005.
Nichan Manoukian and his wife Manoudshag Saryboyadijan, both of Laval, are facing charges of trafficking in persons, receiving material benefit from it and withholding travel or identity documents.
Both are Canadian citizens and lived in Lebanon before returning to Canada with the Ethiopian woman in 2004.
They found the nanny through an agency in Lebanon and she'd been working with the family for some time, said RCMP spokeswoman Magdala Turpin.
The woman acted as a nanny as well as doing housework. She spoke neither English nor French, save a few basic words. The couple and their home in suburban Laval was all that she knew. The victim's personal documents were taken away and she was forbidden to use the telephone, police say. She was told that if she was caught outdoors that she would be returned to Ethiopia, police said.
Some victims of human trafficking come from countries where the police and authorities are corrupt and people are taught not trust them, Turpin said.
"Although they might be exploited here in Canada, the situation they are in here is better than the situation they are back home," she said.
"For her, having three meals a day and a roof over her head was a nice situation to be in."
The tipsters painted a picture of the victim they'd seen to Laval police, which headed up the initial investigation.
"Her eyes were always glued to the ground and she never looked up at anyone," Laval police Det.-Sgt. Richard Brosseau recalled the multiple tips to police.
"When she did have interaction with others, she never spoke. It was always the couple who talked."
The woman was removed from the home in late January, but charges were only laid this week.
"She was scared at first because we are police," Turpin said. "She had been raised to have no confidence in the police. It took time to gain her trust."
Brosseau said the couple was surprised at the arrests and said the status of the woman was still in limbo and they were doing her a favour by keeping her in the house, particularly since she spoke neither English or French.
Ethiopia - Montreal area couple face human trafficking charge involving Ethiopian nanny
Friday, May 18, 2007
MONTREAL (CP) - The RCMP in Montreal have arrested a couple for human trafficking and say it's the first arrest of its kind in Canada.
RCMP spokeswoman Magdala Turpin said Friday that a 29-year-old Ethiopian woman was forced to work around the clock at a residence in nearby Laval and her travel documents were withheld.
A new law came into effect in November 2005 to deal with human trafficking.
Turpin told a news conference that it's the first time in Canada that human trafficking charges have been laid in a case of international scope.
Nichan Manoukian and his wife Manoudshag Saryboyadijan, are facing charges of trafficking in persons, receiving material benefit from it and withholding travel or identity documents.
The couple, who are Canadian citizens, obtained the services of the Ethiopian woman while living in Lebanon and brought her back with them when they returned to Canada. Police say she had been living with the family for some time and working as their nanny, and had lived alone.
Laval police began investigating after receiving anonymous tips from a number of people, said Det.-Sgt. Richard Brosseau of Laval police.
"They had contact with the woman and they found her behaviour bizarre," Brosseau said. "She was always confined to the home, she was never allowed to go outside without one of the couples. When she went outside, she couldn't speak to anyone."
She was not physically abused, Brosseau said.
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