Hamilton, Ontario, April 3, 2012 - Today Ferenc Domotor, the alleged kingprin of human trafficking, will learn his fate. He has been sentenced to the longest prison term ever passed for this crime in Canadian history.
Domotor and his younger brother Gyula arrived in Canada in 1988, claiming refugee status. In 2008, when Canada loosened its visa requirements for Hungarian citizens, his brothers, sisters and in-laws joined him.
Then followed a constant flow of Hungarian men from a small town called Papa, recruited by other Domotor family members who lived there. The men were promised good jobs in Canada. They were "housed" in various basements with locked doors and barred windows (both equipped with alarms), sleeping on mattresses, six to a room. The Domotors confiscated their passports and gave them unpaid "jobs" in construction, forcing them to work from 6am to 11pm every day. They were fed only one meal a day and driven to and from their "jobs" in vans owned by the Domotors.The bars and alarms were unnecessary, since the slaves couldn't speak English and had nowhere to go. The men were told they had to pay 600,000 forint (~$2700 Canadian) which was sent to their recruiters in Hungary, plus the cost of their flight. Some of the men worked for more than two years without ever paying down even a fraction of their "debt".
Since last August, a dozen members of the gang have been convicted and sentenced. Last week, Ferenc's younger brother Gyula, described as second in command of the gang, was sentenced to 7 ½ years in prison, so far the longest sentence ever handed out in Canada for human trafficking (more precisely, conspiracy to traffic humans).
Today Ferenc Domotor and his wife will be sentenced. One can only hope that their sentences will set a new record.
I suppose that one could argue that compared to other human trafficking rings, the Domotor gang treated their victims leniently. An untold number of female victims are promised good jobs in Canada, only to find themselves living in worse conditions and working off their "debt" in brothels.
Pondering the question of appropriate sentences, I find myself at a loss. We don't have the death penalty in Canad, but even if we did, it seems to me too lenient.
Addendum: Domotor received a sentence of 9 years. With time already served factored in, he will be released in 16 months.