On October 6th, 2010 investigators from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Hamilton Niagara Regional Detachment Immigration and Passport Section lay Human Trafficking and Fraud charges against ten family members from the Hamilton area.
The joint RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) investigation, dubbed "Project OPAPA", commenced in December, 2009 when a trafficking victim from Hungary reported the situation.
The ten month investigation eventually identified 16 individuals who reported similar stories. The allegations were that the individuals were recruited from their home in Hungary to work. These victims were generally poor and out of work in their home country. They were brought to Canada with promises of steady work, good pay and a better life. However, they learned of their fate after arriving in Hamilton where they were coached to file false Refugee Claims as well as social assistance. These social benefits were eventually stolen by the traffickers.
It is further alleged that upon arrival in Canada, the traffickers controlled their victims including who they spoke with, where they lived and what they ate. The victims typically lived in the basement of their traffickers and were sometimes fed scraps and leftovers, often only once a day. The victims further alleged that they were taken to construction work sites on a daily basis and made to work long hours without pay.
The constant monitoring coupled with threats to the victims and their families in Hungary left the victims with no money and no way out of their situation. The language barriers created another hurtle for the victims and made it difficult for them to report their plight.
The RCMP and CBSA worked closely with Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Hamilton Police Service along with the assistance of several nongovernmental organizations throughout this investigation.
Arrest warrants have been issued for the offence of Trafficking in Persons and Fraud for;
Ferenc DOMOTOR (48yrs), Gyongyi KOLOMPAR (40 yrs)Lajos DOMOTOR (42 yrs), Gyula DOMOTOR(32yrs).
Arrest warrants have been issued for the offence of Theft for Zsanett KARADI(24yrs).
“Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery and a priority of the RCMP” stated Inspector Steve Martin, the officer in charge of the Hamilton Niagara Regional RCMP Detachment. “Public awareness is the first step towards putting an end to this horrific crime that robs one person’s freedom to benefit another”.