RCMP along with EPS investigate Edmonton human trafficking complaint
Three people and one business are facing four charges each in connection with an alleged human trafficking incident in Edmonton.
Constable N. Jespersen, an investigator with the Calgary RCMP Immigration and Passport Section, says the charges were laid after two men from Israel came to Canada to allegedly work at a coffee shop in Edmonton. The two were able to work in Canada under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
When the men arrived in Canada, they were allegedly told by the coffee shop owner that their pre-arranged employment was no longer available and that they would have to work at the Marble Slab Creamery for less money.
Police believe that the two men were also threatened with deportation if they complained to government officials about the change in their work arrangements.
The workers were eventually fired from their jobs.
As a result of the investigation, 45-year old Yassin Hamdom, 40-year old Wendy Sawa and 36-year old Ahmed Baalbaki have been charged under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The three have been charged with unauthorized employment of a foreign national, counseling misrepresentation, misrepresentation and counseling offence.
Hamdom and Sawa are both directors of 1322746 Alberta Ltd operating as the Marble Slab Creamery of Edmonton, and Baalbaki is the owner/operator of the coffee shop where the men were originally supposed to work.
“This is another example of exploited innocent people who want to make a life for themselves and come to work to Canada from abroad,” says Staff Sergeant Gamlin of Northwest Region Immigration and Passport. “Human Trafficking is a global problem that requires both domestic and international solutions. As demonstrated in this case the RCMP worked closely with its domestic partner, the Edmonton Police Vice Unit to gather and share information for the detection and investigation of human trafficking offences.”
The three accused have been served with a summons for a court appearance on Feb. 19 in Edmonton Provincial Court.