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Newspaper article

Migrant workers win reprieve fom immigration officials

Date

2011-06-20

Authors

Don Lajoie

Abstract

Nineteen victims of international human trafficking have been granted a reprieve by Canadian immigration officials in Windsor to remain in the country for two more years and make a case for remaining permanently.

Newspaper title

The Windsor Star

Full text

WINDSOR, Ont. -- Nineteen victims of international human trafficking have been granted a reprieve by Canadian immigration officials in Windsor to remain in the country for two more years and make a case for remaining permanently.

Cathy Kolar, immigration specialist with Legal Assistance Windsor, said Monday the case of the 19 migrant workers from Thailand, who had worked as forced labourers in the agriculture and food processing industry in Essex County, has set a precedent for other exploited workers.

“It’s very positive,” said Kolar, as the 19 smiling workers filed out of the Canada Immigration offices on Walker Road behind her. “They recognized the hardships of forced labour should be examined in their case and will allow them to submit an application to stay on humanitarian grounds.”

In the meantime the 19, will have their open work permits to seek employment in Canada extended two years.

“We’re happy that a precedent has been set for victims,” added Kolar.

The 19 came to Canada under the Federal migrant workers program to work legally in Essex County over the last several years. But instead they were forced to work long hours for little pay by the agents that had contracted them.

Many had paid between $9,000 and $12,000 to the agents in exchange for arranging travel and jobs, only to find the terms of their employment had changed upon arrival, making their status in Canada illegal.

Through debt bondage and threats of deportation they were forced work to pay off the money owed.

Economic sectors

Agriculture and horticulture workers and Labourers in food, beverage and associated products processing

Content types

Documented cases of abuse

Target groups

Public awareness

Geographical focuses

Ontario and Thailand

Languages

English