Montreal police are admitting they could have responded differently to repeated calls from a Park Extension woman about a duplex where an alleged sex slave claims she was held.
In an exclusive interview on Wednesday, Jennifer Dorner told CBC's Daybreak she tried to get police to investigate the screaming, banging and noisy goings-on she heard coming from her neighbour's house, where a woman alleges she was confined and used as a sex slave for months.
But despite her pleas, Dorner says "the cycle of violence" did not stop.
This morning, Montreal police Cmdr. Ian Lafrenière responded, acknowledging that police initially considered Dorner's call a noise complaint.
"Maybe that was not accurate. Maybe that was not done the right way," he said. "Sometimes, as police officers, we're not perfect."
Lafrenière said Dorner did the right thing by calling the police.
"To be honest she did exactly the right thing. On our side, we could have responded to that differently,"
Lafrenière said this is an important case.
"When you talk about human trafficking, people think about different countries," he said. "They never think it could happen here in Montreal in their backyard."
Police meet with concerned neighbour
After her interview on Daybreak, Dorner was contacted by police and later met with officers.
Dorner said she was relieved to discuss the events that traumatized her family two years ago.
Dorner initially contacted Daybreak after reading about the case of five Montreal men on trial for sex trafficking. She realized some of the events being described in testimony are said to have taken place in the house she now owns.
"I wanted to vomit, to be honest — to hear all these things that were going on that intuitively we knew were happening," Dorner said. "We were trying to do something about it, but we...were totally helpless."
Victim held in 'hell'
Evgueni Mataev, 39, and four co-defendants are on trial on several charges in connection with holding a Missouri woman against her will, sexual assault with a weapon and engaging in sex trafficking.
The woman, identified only as Sandy, has described in court how, for the last three months of her captivity, she was held in the modest two-storey Park Extension house, beaten and forced to engage in prostitution and shoplifting.
In her testimony, she described her life in the house as "hell."
Dorner says reading about the trial of the five men, "brought back a lot of the memories and frustration of having tried to go to police and not being listened to — not being taken seriously."