Five Hamilton residents among six charged by RCMP with human trafficking

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Published February 11, 2021 at 11:17 am

Five Hamilton residents are among six of the people who have been charged following an investigation into human trafficking by the Ontario RCMP and CBSA.

The joint investigation between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canadian Borders Services Agency alleges the six men exploited workers from Mexico who were brought into Canada as visitors and, through employment agencies they operated, illegally put to work in the Hamilton-Niagara region.

Christian Vitela, 33, from Milton, is charged with nine counts of human trafficking and material benefit-tracking.

The RCMP said in searches conducted in July and September of 2019, police found approximately 80 foreign nationals in Milton and Hamilton residing in sub-standard conditions. Many of the individuals were sleeping on floor mattresses and the housing was infested with cockroaches, bed bugs and other vermin.

“This investigation showcases how effectively the RCMP works with our partner agencies to combat crime and ensure the safety of all our citizens,” said Insp. Ann Koenig, Officer in Charge, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Hamilton-Niagara Regional Detachment.

“The investigation uncovered a group of individuals exploiting foreign nationals, as well as manipulating our immigration systems and processes for personal gain and profit.”

The employment agencies included Trillium Management, operated by Vitela, Nora Services and Bryan Enterprise Agency.

Others charged were Mario Roca Morales, 47, from Hamilton, with eight counts of human trafficking and material benefit-trafficking.

Cheang Kim, 60, from Hamilton, was charged with three counts of human trafficking and material benefit-trafficking.

Miurel Bracamonte, 43, from Hamilton, was charged with four counts of human trafficking and material benefit-trafficking.

Nora Rivera Franco, 36, from Hamilton, was charged with five counts of human trafficking and material benefit-tracking.

Myriam Vitela, from Hamilton, was charged with five counts of human trafficking and material benefit-trafficking.

The accused are set to appear in court in Hamilton on March 8.

According to the RCMP and CBSA, further charges are pending as their investigation continues.

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