Canadian authorities reported Friday that they had rescued 64 Mexicans victims of human trafficking to work on Toronto farms, factories and warehouses and its surroundings.
Police arrested five people in connection with the case. and issued arrest warrants for two others who are still on the run. They face more than 40 charges in all, including involvement in a criminal gang and human trafficking.
In November 2022, the Police and the Canada Border Services Agency launched an investigation following a complaint from a Mexican immigrant about the poor working and living conditions he suffered.
York Regional Police Detective Gary McBride told a news conference that during the search of five places they found immigrant workers "living in deplorable conditions".
This included overcrowding "with dozens of people sleeping on mattresses on the floor, lack of food, lack of privacy and an abundance of bugs"he detailed.
The victims, men and women between the ages of 20 and 40, added, they complained that they suffered "forms of coercion and control, including isolation, lack of freedom, economic dependency, threats, and sexual assault".
They were taken to work places every day in three buses "dilapidated" and forced them to work long hours for little pay, he said.
They had all been made false promises about great working and living conditions with great pay in Canada.
According to Canada’s Department of Public Safety, from 2011 to 2021, more than 3,500 cases of human trafficking were reported to the police. Almost all the victims were women and girls.
The authorities rescued 43 Mexicans in 2019, mostly men, forced to work for next to nothing in Canadian hotels, as well as to live in "miserable conditions."