On Monday, Ontario police announced they have freed 43 ‘modern day slaves’ from squalid working conditions in the province.
According to police, the men and women had been transported from Mexico and allegedly forced to work as cleaners at vacation properties in the Barrie and Wasaga Beach areas of southern Ontario.
The Mexican workers were made to clean properties and hotels before paying their alleged traffickers large sums of money for transportation and housing, leaving the workers with less than $50 a month.
“One of the victims said to our officer, ‘Last night, I went to bed a slave. This morning, I woke up a free man,'” said OPP Deputy Commissioner Rick Barnum.
“We aim to discover every dollar that these individuals profited from holding people as labour slaves. We intend to find a place at the end of this investigation where these people can have a long time to think about how they victimized others.”
The alleged victims have since been offered accommodations and legitimate employment at a local resort while Immigration and Refugees Canada works to address their status in the country.
With files from the Canadian Press.