British Columbia

Vancouver man cleared of human trafficking charge

A Vancouver massage parlour owner who was the first person charged under Canada's human trafficking laws has been cleared of those charges, but found guilty of a number of lesser offences.

A Vancouver massage parlour owner who was the first person charged under Canada's human trafficking laws has been found guilty of a number of lesser offences instead.

Michael Ng was arrested more than three years ago and accused of forcing two women to work as prostitutes after bringing them to Canada from China with promises of jobs as waitresses.

He was clearedof the human trafficking charges.

However, he was foundguilty of keeping a common bawdy house, helping create false documents for women to travel under, and procuring a person to have illicit sexual intercourse with another.

It was the first human trafficking prosecution under Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act since it became law several years ago.

The case against Ng began after police responded to an assault complaint at Ng's King City Massage Parlour in East Vancouver more than three years ago.

An officer testified at the Vancouver provincial court trial that he found a woman crying hysterically in the street and complaining of a sore neck and throat. She also had dried blood on her hands.

The officer saidthe womantold police that her boss, Michael Ng, was responsible.

He told the court a second woman at the scene confirmed the woman's story, and Ng— who lived less than a block away—was arrested.

The Crown alleged Ng deceived two women into coming to Canada and then forced them into prostitution at his massage parlour.

One of the women testifiedshe was brought to Canada from China, believing she had a job as a waitress, but that never happened.

Instead, she told the court, Ng put her to work as aprostitute at his massage parlour seven days a week, and told her she would have to pay him $11,000 a month.

The defence had argued the testimony of the two women Ng had brought into Canada was either not credible or contradictory.

With files from the Canadian Press