20 members of human trafficking ring deported from Canada
Josh Elliott, CTVNews.ca
Published Tuesday, July 22, 2014 10:48AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 22, 2014 2:56PM EDT
The federal government has announced that 20 members of a large human trafficking ring based out of Hamilton, Ont. have been deported from Canada.
The 20 deported individuals were members of the Domotor-Kolompar ring and helped run the largest proven human trafficking ring in Canada, according to the statement put out by the border agency. As of Tuesday, at least 22 members of this ring have been convicted on human trafficking charges, the BSA has confirmed. All but two were deported.
The Domotor-Kolompar family brought Hungarians from their hometown to Canada with the promise of work and a better life in the Hamilton area, Canadian officials said. But the Hungarians who came over were subjected to brutal living conditions without adequate food and forced to work construction jobs for free. The human traffickers used intimidation and threats of violence to keep their victims in line, officials said.
"This flagrant abuse of persons in our immigration system demanded a strong response," Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said in a news conference Tuesday. "There is no room in Canada for those who are committing the heinous and despicable crime of human trafficking.
Blaney called the human trafficking ring "a form of modern slavery" that threatens public safety and the integrity of the immigration system. "The very vast majority of immigrants to Canada play by the rules, and make a positive contribution to their community," he said.
RCMP took down the Domotor-Kolompar organization in 2010 as part of Project OPAPA. They first became aware of the Domotor-Kolompar family when one of the human trafficking victims escaped and went to police.
The initial investigation found 16 people with similar stories, and then more people came forward. The victims typically lived in the basement of the of the suspects’ home. They typically ate just once a day and were fed food scraps and leftovers.
Ferenc Domotor Jr., son of the organization's ringleader, was among those deported. His father, Ferenc Domotor Sr., was sentenced to nine years in jail in 2012 for running the human trafficking ring.
The 20 individuals were deported between May 2012 and May 2014, BSA Regional Director General Goran Vragovic said. All of them were related by blood or marriage, Vragovic said.
"The public interest is best-served by the knowledge that they are no longer in Canada," Vragovic said at the same news conference.
The government has released the names of nine of the 20 deported individuals.
Hamilton-area MP David Sweet said the public owes law enforcement and border services agents “a debt of gratitude for helping us rid the scourge of human trafficking in Hamilton and Ancaster.”