Labor for sorting centers | The police dismantle the human trafficking ring
Police in Ontario announced Wednesday the dismantling of a human trafficking ring that allegedly lured Mexican workers into its nets and then forced them through fraud and coercion to work for gunfire at recycling centers in Quebec, from Ontario and Alberta.
Three men and one woman were arrested on May 16 and face a number of criminal charges related to human trafficking, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) said. The suspects, Miroslaw Blachuta (72), Francisco Eluid Antonio-Olvera (33), Mikhael Akin (53) and Floriberta Sarmiento (27) are residents of the Greater Toronto Area.
The investigation, called Project Foxtrot, began on February 13 thanks to a tip received from an immigrant and refugee aid group. “They were concerned about the treatment of certain people,” OPP Detective Inspector Jordan Whitesell said in an interview with The press.
“We were able to easily access the victims and all credit goes to our investigators who are extremely talented as well as our police officers who have a very varied linguistic profile to engage with different communities,” added Ms . Whitesell.
According to police, the investigation revealed that Mexican workers were recruited online thanks to promises of good wages and work permits in Canada.
Once in the country, they were housed in short-term rental housing across Canada, as well as in the basement of one of the suspects in Ontario. The indictment specifies that the crimes for which the defendants are charged began in late September or early October.
Employers in the dark
The victims worked at sorting centers for recyclables across Canada, including in Lévis, Quebec, according to the OPP, which was assisted by the Quebec City Police Service in its investigation. The names of the companies involved have not been released, but police say the employers were unaware of the status of these vulnerable workers and that the hiring was done through external employment services.
The suspects allegedly took money from the workers’ wages, which were already lower than they had been promised. “Through deception and coercion, the suspects tricked the victims into believing they could not leave,” said Jordan Whitesell.
Project Foxtrot exposes the exploitation of victims of human trafficking in plain sight.
Detective Inspector Jordan Whitesell, Ontario Provincial Police
Three victims, men aged between 27 and 42, received support from a refugee aid center after being rescued by police.
One of the suspects, Miroslaw Blachuta, is a registered corporate director of a non-profit organization called TLIO (for Truth Love Inspiration Organization), which aims to “alleviate poverty” in developing countries by providing food, healthcare, drinking water and aid to agriculture. In its incorporation documents, the organization also says it wants to fight poverty in Canada by providing shelter to the homeless and immigrant support services. Available evidence does not indicate whether the organism was actually active, and attempts to The press Another administrator could not be reached.