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Vancouver Sun - Human trafficking conviction highlights prevalence of offence

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Published: 4 Apr 2012

As the kingpin of Canada's largest human trafficking case to date was handed a nine-year prison sentence Tuesday - the toughest Canadian sentence for human trafficking yet - experts say it represents just the tip of the iceberg.

As the kingpin of Canada's largest human trafficking case to date was handed a nine-year prison sentence Tuesday - the toughest Canadian sentence for human trafficking yet - experts say it represents just the tip of the iceberg.

Ferenc Domotor is the leader of a Hamilton, Ont. family that recruited people from the family's original country of Hungary to work in construction in Hamilton for little or no pay, keeping them in the family's basements and taking their travel documents. The victims were forced to claim refugee status and apply for welfare, which went to the family. Nine-teen victims, none of whom spoke English when they were recruited, have come forward.

Human trafficking in Canada is more common than people might think and the Domotor case exemplifies the forms it can take beyond sexual exploitation, said Bethany Hastie, a doctoral candidate in law at McGill University in Montreal.

"Public awareness of trafficking in our country is quite low. It's not something that Canadians typically think happens here," Hastie said.

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