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

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

The Enver Creek Robotics Club prepares for a recent competition. The club is in Anaheim this week competing at the worlds. Submitted photo via Surrey Now.

Surrey robotics team off to the world championships

KATYA SLEPIAN SURREY NOW SURREY — It’s a long way from a club in Surrey to the world robotics championships but having already gotten there…
Continue Reading »

Canada-India-Sikhs-Whites

Community outraged over ‘racist’ poster making rounds in Brampton

VANCOUVER DESI Members of the Brampton community have taken to Twitter to express their outrage over a crude and “racist” poster filtering through the city….
Continue Reading »

Crime-Vancouver-BC

Surrey Six trial: Ex-gang leader Michael Le fails to get ban on his name and names of Triads for cross-examination

KEITH FRASER VANCOUVER DESI Former Red Scorpions gang leader Michael Le, arguing that there were threats against his life, has lost a bid to have…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Kenney acts amid temporary foreign workers scandal

By Lee-Anne Goodman THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — Amid a roar of criticism, Employment Minister Jason Kenney took action Thursday against the government’s scandal-ridden temporary…
Continue Reading »

Kenney acts amid temporary foreign workers scandal

By Lee-Anne Goodman THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — Amid a roar of criticism, Employment Minister Jason Kenney took action Thursday against the government’s scandal-ridden temporary…
Continue Reading »

Kenney acts amid temporary foreign workers scandal

By Lee-Anne Goodman THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — Amid a roar of criticism, Employment Minister Jason Kenney took action Thursday against the government’s scandal-ridden temporary…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

NRI diaspora

Bride dumps addict NRI groom on wedding day

VANCOUVER DESI In Jalandhar, a  city dominated by NRIs, a woman dumped her newly wedded NRI husband after becoming suspicious that he was a drug…
Continue Reading »

Justin Bieber

Narendra Modi gets more ‘NO’ votes than Justin Bieber in TIME poll

IANS New Delhi – BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had many more “NO” votes than Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber and polled far fewer…
Continue Reading »

Religion

British tourist to be deported from Sri Lanka for sporting a Buddha tattoo

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lankan authorities will deport a British tourist for having an image of Buddha tattooed on her arm,…
Continue Reading »

India-Australia

Indian student granted asylum in Australia because he’s gay

IANS Sydney – A gay Indian student, who fled his country to escape his oppressive family and an arranged marriage, has been granted refugee status…
Continue Reading »

Desi Dad

Single dad smuggles daughter in suitcase from Morocco to Spain (w/video, photos)

CEN AGENCY A Moroccan dad who tried to smuggle his daughter into Spain by hiding her in a suitcase so that she could have a…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Siddharth

Indo-Canadian film Siddharth wins Best Film at Beijing International Film Festival

HINDUSTAN TIMES An Indo-Canadian film project, Siddharth, won the best film award at the 4th Beijing International Film Festival (BIFF), ahead of favourite, China’s martial…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Gallery: Bollywood stars keep their date with the ballot box

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood stars Aamir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai and hubby Abhishek Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar and Sonam Kapoor were among a…
Continue Reading »

Film Review

Kaanchi: Epic tale of women’s empowerment (w/trailer)

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Film: “Kaanchi”; Cast: Mishti, Kartik Aaryan, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Mithun Chakraborty, Rishi Kapoor; Directed by Subhash Ghai; Rating: **** Subhash Ghai…
Continue Reading »