Human trafficking: Woman who helped victim was at first skeptical about her claims

Published: September 11, 2013
Mumtaz Ladha

Mumtaz Ladha gets into an elevator to go back into court from an underground parkade while trying to avoid having her photograph taken at the end of the first day of a human trafficking trial at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

THE CANADIAN PRESS

VANCOUVER — A young woman from East Africa had lived a life of hardship and poverty before meeting the employer who eventually brought her to Canada and allegedly forced her into domestic servitude, a human trafficking trial heard Wednesday.

The employer, 60-year-old Canadian citizen Mumtaz Ladha, is facing several charges, including the human-trafficking of the Tanzanian woman who cannot be identified under a publication ban.

The alleged victim, 26, testified at B.C. Supreme Court on Tuesday that she began working as a housekeeper for Ladha in Dar es Salaam, the largest city in Tanzania, when she was about 14 years old.

The court heard the young woman grew up with her two older siblings and parents in a house with running water and electricity. But her father, a shop owner, died when she was three years old, so the family of four was forced to move into a single bedroom in a house where “the landlord rented one bedroom and one bedroom to people,” and where the family had to use candles and fetch water from elsewhere with plastic containers, she said through an interpreter.

The woman said her mother supported the family by working at a hotel, so she was able to complete elementary school and then train to be a nurse. But her mother died in 2002, forcing the woman to quit her schooling.

“Nobody was looking after us,” she said, tearing up.

The woman told the court she then started working for an African family, caring for their child, before finding a job as a housekeeper for Ladha, whose home was located in an area where “there are big houses, and rich people live there,” she said.

When asked by Crown prosecutor Peter LaPrairie about her work schedule there, the woman replied she would work from 7 a.m. to five or six in the evening, six days a week for the equivalent of $50 Canadian a month.

She was also expected to spend one night at week at Ladha’s home, where she said she would work into the evenings and then start work again first thing the following morning.

The Crown is alleging the woman was eventually lured by Ladha, who splits her time between West Vancouver and Tanzania, to Canada in 2008 with the promise of a six-month job in a salon that would pay her $200 a month.

However, the salon job never materialized and instead, the woman was forced to work long hours in Ladha’s affluent West Vancouver home for no pay and no means of escape, the Crown alleged.

The woman eventually fled to a shelter in June 2009 with the help of Tigist Begashaw, a community health worker who also testified Tuesday.

Begashaw told court she met the woman in early 2009 at a bus stop. The two then met three or four different times after that. During the meetings, the woman told Begashaw about her living and working conditions, and that she couldn’t go home to Tanzania because her passport was withheld from her.

Begashaw said she gave the woman food and money because she said she was hungry.

“She was sad,” Begashaw said. “Every time I talked to her, she was in tears.”

While Begashaw did not, at the Crown’s request, disclose details about their conversations, she said she initially felt skeptical about the woman’s story, prompting defence counsel to suggest the woman was really trying to con her out of her money.

“Would you at least agree that scenario is a real possibility?” Eric Gottardi asked Begashaw.

“Yes,” she said.

Begashaw said she eventually suggested the woman seek help at a shelter. The woman did so, and the police later visited Ladha’s home to retrieve the alleged victim’s belongings and passport.

Ladha has pleaded not guilty to four charges under the federal Immigration and Refugee Protection Act: human trafficking; employing a foreign national without authorization; misrepresenting facts to the High Commission of Canada in Tanzania; and misrepresenting facts to Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Related Stories:


West Vancouver human trafficking accused Mumtaz Ladha


Picture 1 of 14

Mumtaz Ladha waits to get into an elevator to go back into court from an underground parkade while trying to avoid having her photograph taken at the end of the first day of a human trafficking trial at B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday September 4, 2013. A West Vancouver woman accused of enslaving a domestic worker has pleaded not guilty to one charge of human trafficking and three other offences under the Immigration Act in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver Wednesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck


Tags: , , , ,





Featured

desi-crime-sexual assault

Surrey man who pleaded guilty to mistreating sex trade workers should go to prison for 2-3 years: Crown

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI SURREY — A Surrey man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old sex trade worker nearly 20 years ago and…
Continue Reading »

sexual harassment

‘Will you have fun with me?’: Immigration officer sexually harasses female passenger at Delhi airport

HINDUSTAN TIMES An immigration officer at the Delhi airport has been suspended after a female passenger complained that he sexually harassed her by asking obscene…
Continue Reading »

crime-Surrey

Two Surrey men in hospital with gunshot wounds after targeted shooting

VANCOUVER DESI SURREY — Two men are in hospital with gunshot wounds following what appears to be a targeted shooting in Surrey on Thursday night….
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

US-Mexico sign climate co-operation deal as Canada stalls on UN emissions bid

By Bruce Cheadle THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — The Harper government is temporarily standing on the sidelines as international negotiations ramp up for a United…
Continue Reading »

desi-crime-sexual assault

Surrey man who pleaded guilty to mistreating sex trade workers should go to prison for 2-3 years: Crown

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI SURREY — A Surrey man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old sex trade worker nearly 20 years ago and…
Continue Reading »

Changes to Nova Scotia law allow sex assault victims to sue retroactively

By Keith Doucette THE CANADIAN PRESS HALIFAX — Nova Scotians who have been sexually assaulted can now launch civil lawsuits against their perpetrators regardless of…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

World Cup final

Underarm incident recalled as Australia-New Zealand rivalry rekindles in World Cup final

STEVE MCMORRAN THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MELBOURNE, Australia — Relations between New Zealand and Australia at a political level have regained their natural cordiality in the…
Continue Reading »

Cricket World Cup

Clarke’s Australians prepare to take on unpopular role in the World Cup final vs New Zealand

JOHN PYE THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MELBOURNE, Australia — Win or lose, Michael Clarke and his Australian teammates are probably going to be portrayed as the…
Continue Reading »

India-Australia-weird news

Youth cut his tongue as sacrifice at an Indian temple for nation’s cricket victory

IANS Chennai – In a senseless act, a cricket crazy youth in Tamil Nadu offered the tip of his tongue as a sacrifice at a…
Continue Reading »

Freedom-Section 66A-India

Teenager shoots himself after father bans Facebook chat

IANS Lucknow - A 14-year-old boy shot himself Thursday after his father reprimanded him for chatting too often on social networking site Facebook, police said. The…
Continue Reading »

messy custody battle-desi lingerie model

Jeremy Renner’s messy divorce from B.C. model gets messier as custody battle rages

VANCOUVER DESI A B.C. woman who was married to Hollywood actor Jeremy Renner is being accused of being a gold digger and blackmailer who has…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

pakistani sex meera-Veena Malik

Gallery: Bollywood celebs in trouble with the law

ALMAS MEHERALLY VANCOUVER DESI Indian film actress Shruti Haasan has run into legal trouble after she pulled out of a signed contract, according to an…
Continue Reading »

Salman Khan-Bollywood

Bollywood actor Salman Khan denies he was driving or drunk during 2002 accident

IANS Mumbai – Bollywood actor Salman Khan on Friday told a Mumbai court, conducting the trial of the 2002 hit-and-run case involving him, that he…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood movie

Amitabh Bachchan: Balki challenges me with never-done-before roles

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS Mumbai – R. Balakrishnan and Amitabh Bachchan’s much anticipated third outing “Shamitabh” turned out to be a box office disaster, but…
Continue Reading »