The leader of what has been called the largest proven human trafficking ring in Canadian history was sentenced to nine years in prison Tuesday.
Ferenc Domotor, 49, was sentenced in a Hamilton, Ont., court after previously pleading guilty to being part of a criminal organization, conspiracy to traffic in human beings and coercing victims to mislead immigration authorities.With time served and other deductions, Domotor will spend an additional 4½ years — at most — behind bars.
His sentence also includes a prohibition on owning a firearm for 10 years after his release.
Domotor's wife, Gyongi Kolompar, and 21-year-old son, Ferenc Domotor Jr., were also sentenced Tuesday afternoon.
The three family members apologized to Canada, the City of Hamilton and the court before they were sentenced.
Ferenc Domotor Jr. received a five-year sentence but after various deductions will serve another 16 months behind bars at most.
Kolompar was sentenced to time served after pleading guilty to welfare fraud and another charge. She must also pay back $24,865 owed to the City of Hamilton.
Victims recruited in Hungary, brought to Canada
As many as 19 victims, all from Hungary, were brought to Canada against their will, forced to work from dawn to dusk, held in basements and fed table scraps, the CBC's Aaron Saltzman reported from Ancaster, Ont., prior to Tuesday's verdict.
"Their passports taken away, their families threatened with violence back home if they left — until one did, and the RCMP brought down the entire ring," Saltzman said.
The trafficking ring targeted vulnerable men from Hungary, promising them jobs and an easy life. Once in Canada, they were forced to claim refugee status, apply for welfare and work in construction jobs without pay.
Among those watching the case is Tomas Miko, one of the 19 Hungarian men falsely lured to Canada with a promise of thousands of dollars in pay.
Miko told CBC News that the workers lived in squalid conditions.
"I lived in a basement. The basement wasn't finished. I sleep on the floor on a mattress," he said. "And I couldn't took shower almost two weeks. I just worked, worked, worked, that's it. It was really, really hard."
In March, another member of the gang, Attila Kolompar, was sentenced to 72 months in jail after pleading guilty to two counts of conspiring in trafficking humans and defrauding Hamilton's welfare system.
He was one of those arrested in the 2010 bust of the Domotor crime group.
The federal government added "trafficking in persons" to the Criminal Code in 2005. Section 279 prohibits:
- Causing people to be confined or imprisoned against their will.
- Being unlawfully sent or transported out of Canada against their will.
- Being held "for ransom or to service against the person's will."
Twelve Domotor gang members have pleaded guilty in the case, the Globe and Mail has reported. Eight have been convicted of conspiracy to traffic in humans.
A previous version of this story stated that after various deductions, Ferenc Domotor's nine-year sentence will mean he will have to serve an additional 16 months in prison. In fact, he will serve an additional 4½ years at most. Ferenc Domotor Jr., who received a five-year sentence, will serve up to 16 months behind bars, after various deductions.Apr 03, 2012 8:35 PM ET