Hamilton human-trafficking investigators arrest 3
Ring allegedly coerced men to come from Hungary and toil in quasi-slavery
Three more people were arrested Tuesday by the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency in relation to the investigation of a Hamilton-based human trafficking ring.
The investigation, dubbed Project Opapa, looked into people allegedly recruited from Hungary to work in the local construction industry.
Gizella Domotor, 43, Anna Lukacs, 37, and Gyozo Papai, 42, were arrested in Toronto without incident. All three were wanted on Canada-wide arrest warrants.
Lukacs appeared in bail court Wednesday afternoon. She wore a purple sweatsuit, her blond hair pulled back in a long braid. Lukacs teared up after her charges were read to through a Hungarian interpreter. She is in custody until her next appearance on July 18.
Domotor and Papai both appeared in Hamilton court late Tuesday. They will both reappear Thursday via video link.
There is a publication ban on the case.
RCMP Insp. Steve Martin said the three people arrested are believed to have been the remaining members of the Opapa human trafficking ring.
In April, Ferenc Domotor, 49, was sentenced after previously pleading guilty to being part of a criminal organization, conspiracy to traffic in human beings and coercing victims to mislead immigration authorities. He is believed to have been the leader of the ring.
Victims recruited in Hungary, brought to Canada
As many as 19 people, 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 was told in April.
"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.