The largest human trafficking ring ever caught in Canada operated, here, in Hamilton but Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews said it's still a problem in the city.
Toews was in Ancaster on Friday afternoon with Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale MP David Sweet and RCMP Inspector for Hamilton Steve Martin. They held a news conference to promote details of Canada's National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, announced Wednesday.
"These situations do occur in various innocuous settings. It doesn't have to be out on the street," Toews said. "It can be in very upscale homes, in domestic situations, it can be in restaurants in your community."
In October 2010, Hamilton was home to what authorities called the largest human smuggling ring in Canadian history.
Ferenc Domotor, 49, pled guilty to human trafficking and coercing victims to mislead immigration authorities. His wife, Gyongi Kolompar, and their son Ferenc Domotor Jr. were also convicted of related crimes.
"It involved workers who were recruited in Hungary and brought to Canada on the promise of jobs and with the hopes of bettering their lives and that of their families," said Martin. "They were forced to work long hours without pay, living in basements in inhumane conditions."
Canada's action plan includes a Human Trafficking Taskforce, awareness campaign and improved detection and prevention tools.
Timea Nagy is a trafficking survivor. She was also from Hungary when she came to Canada nearly 12 years ago for what she thought was a nanny and housekeeping job.
"I was forced to strip," Nagy explained. "I didn't sleep, I didn't eat."
Canada's new plan is one that Nagy is proud to see.
"I feel overwhelmed. Almost all of the leading countries have a human trafficking task force and we haven't had it, we've been waiting for this," Nagy explained.
Part of the plan includes a fund that will provide up to $500,000 for projects to improve human trafficking victims services.
"Most Canadians think it happens in Thailand or Cambodia but the truth is people are getting trafficked into Canada that are international victims and there are domestic victims. There are Canadian girls that are getting trafficked," added Nagy.