ONTARIO – The OPP announced on Monday, Feb. 11 that they freed 43 Mexican migrants who were being used as “modern day slaves” to work in the cleaning industry.
The OPP say that they have been investigating a Barrie, ON, based cleaning company since Dec. 2018 for human trafficking and defrauding Mexican-born workers.
“The victims initially paid the traffickers large sums of money to leave their home country and be transported to Canada. Once here, the victims were made to live in squalid conditions at locations in Barrie and Wasaga Beach,” reads a statement from the OPP. “The victims were transported by the traffickers to and from forced work locations in Collingwood, Innisfil, Oro-Medonte and Cornwall. The traffickers controlled wages and charged the victims fees for accommodations and transportation.”
The OPP, Barrie police department and CBSA executed warrants in Barrie and Wasaga Beach on Tuesday, Feb. 5. At that time, 43 workers, mostly men aged 20 to 46-years-old were brought to safety and placed in legal employment.
No charges have been laid thus far, but the investigation continues.
“Human trafficking is modern day slavery. Labour human trafficking is a difficult crime to investigate. At every stage, our collective concern has been to ensure these 43 victims are well cared for from a personal health and wellness perspective and that they are now safely housed,” said Deputy Commissioner Rick Barnum, Provincial Commander OPP Investigations and Organized Crime.