Four people are now facing multiple charges in connection with a human labour trafficking ring.
Starting last year the OPP, Barrie Police, and Canada Border Services Agency were jointly investigating a cleaning company based in Barrie. The company was accused of bringing people to Canada from Mexico under the pretence of being here for either educational purposes or for the promise of work permits and, eventually, permanent residency status.
The OPP says the victims paid large sums of money for these supposed opportunities but once they arrived in Canada were subjected to wretched living conditions at places in Barrie and Wasaga Beach.
The accused traffickers, police say, would drive the victims to and from forced work locations in Collingwood, Innisfil, Oro-Medonte and Cornwall. While this was happening it’s alleged the accused controlled the victims’ wages and charged them fees for accommodations and transportation. Back in February police searched several properties and were able to rescue 43 people who were all brought to safety, re-housed and provided with legal employment.
Police have now charged 54-year-old Patricia Zuniga Rojas Senior, 51-year-old Kevin Kielty, 24-year-old Patricia Camacho Zuniga Junior, and 19-year-old Ashley Camacho Zuniga with the following offences:
·Employ A Foreign National Without Authorization, contrary to Section 124 (1) (c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
·Trafficking In Persons, contrary to Section 279.01 (1) of the Criminal Code of Canada;
·Material Benefit – Trafficking, contrary to Section 279.02 (1) of the Criminal Code of Canada;
·Possession Of Property Obtained By Crime, contrary to Section 354 (1) (a) of the Criminal Code of Canada; and,
·Participation In Activities Of Criminal Organization, contrary to Section 467.11 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
The accused are scheduled to appear in court in Barrie on July 3rd.