Police say 43 victims rescued from 'modern day slavery'

ONTARIO: Human trafficking victims worked in Barrie area resorts, say police (11 photos)

Police say 43 'modern day slaves' from Mexico forced to clean Ontario resorts

The investigation included members from the Barrie Police Service, Canada Border Services Agency, the Barrie and Area Victims' Services and County of Simcoe Paramedic Services. "Exploitation is the key element of this offence".

At a news conference held Monday in Barrie, OPP revealed details on an investigation begun in 2018 into allegations the workers had been hired and trafficked/defrauded by a cleaning company based in Barrie, Ont.

They would make as little as $50 per month for daily work.

Here is another example of the squalid conditions the workers faced.

The alleged traffickers have not been arrested or charged.

OPP Deputy Commissioner Rick Barnum says: 'Human trafficking is modern-day slavery.

According to police, they were lured to Canada from Mexico with the promise of working visas, education and permanent residency.

Officers say the victims have been re-housed and provided legal employment at a local resort.

The provincial police and the Barrie, Ont., city force said they launched an investigation into the alleged scam past year after receiving multiple tips from the public.

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

Police say 43 victims of labour human trafficking have been freed following a lengthy investigation in Barrie and Wasaga Beach. She called it "very disturbing". As a result, officers say 43 labour human trafficking victims, mostly men, between the ages of 20 and 46 were brought to safety. It is not confined to large urban centres, she added.

The operation was the first of its nature and size seen in the region, said Barrie Police Chief Kimberley Greenwood. "It is inconceivable that this was taking place in our community".

Greenwood said the 43 were in brought "under misleading circumstances", promised safer lives and more opportunities. "These individuals are now free from the control of the people who wished to exploit them for their personal gain".

Police say once they were rescued, the victims were given food, access to a hot shower, clean clothing and were medically assessed. "Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation and harbouring of persons for the purposes of exploitation, typically in the sex industry, or in this case forced labour".

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