Vancouver human trafficking case heading to trial

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Human Trafficking

Mumtaz Ladha allegedly enticed a young Tanzanian woman to leave her home and three-year-old child for a job opportunity at a Vancouver salon and a promise of a $200 per month salary. The woman argues that she was instead forced into domestic servitude with no pay, and no means of escape.

The alleged victim was one of Ladha’s domestic servants in Tanzania, and Ladha asked the woman to accompany her to Canada for a six month period in 2008. The woman declined because she had to take care of her young child. According to the woman, Ladha insisted that she accompany her to Vancouver, and persuaded her with the promise of a $200 monthly salary, more than four times what the woman made as a domestic servant in Tanzania. The woman agreed to Ladha’s offer, seeing it as an opportunity to earn money for her family.

In the visa paperwork, Ladha indicated that the woman would be in Canada for three months to help her with a medical condition. The woman claims that upon arrival, she was given a maid’s outfit and was forced to work long days caring for Ladha’s West Vancouver home with no pay. Her passport was kept locked in a safe in Ladha’s bedroom.

Ladha is standing trial on four counts under the federal Immigration and Refugee Protection Act:

  • Human trafficking
  • Employing a foreign national without authorization
  • Misrepresenting facts to the High Commission of Canada in Tanzania
  • Misrepresenting facts to Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Ladha and her lawyer claim that the Tanzanian woman is lying, and is trying to take advantage of a little-used section of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to remain in Canada. This Act allows victims of traffickers to remain in Canada on a temporary permit.

If convicted, Ladha could face a fine of up to $1 million and life in prison.

Featured Image: UNODC UNGIFT

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