Human Trafficking Case Study 1: Edward
Read the case study that follows. Then, click on the image to take the quiz about Edward.
Leaving his wife and three children in Manila, 32-year-old Edward thought he was coming to Canada to work on a crew building two ocean-going icebreakers for the Canadian government, for $23 an hour plus overtime, food and lodging.
An Ontario labour-supply company that legitimately thought it would be supplying workers for the federal contract asked a couple of Manila-based job-recruiting companies to help find them skilled workers, which is where Edward found out about the job. To qualify, he had a medical exam, took English lessons and upgraded his professional skills, all at his own expense. He also paid the recruiters a $12,000 “placement” fee that included a legal temporary work permit to enter Canada.
What Edward didn’t know was that the contract for the icebreakers had fallen through, but once he arrived in Canada, the recruiters sent him to an agent in Ontario anyway, who then sent him on to a man named Robert.
Robert took Edward’s passport and then dropped him at a house in Toronto where he found himself one of eight Filipino men — all skilled plumbers or welders — sleeping four to a bed in the basement. The next day, Edward and the other men were trucked two hours north to a new home in a filthy, abandoned farmhouse.
From the farmhouse, the men were driven to work at 5:15 each morning: some to help clean a water-bottling plant, others to dig ditches or pick up garbage around Robert’s estate. When Edward asked his boss when he would get his first paycheque, Robert responded, “Don’t you guys know that I spent $4,000 to get you?” He also told Edward that his work permit had expired and that “one call, I can have you deported,” and then threatened Edward with a beating if he didn’t go back to work.
Some of the men eventually did receive some pay, but not Edward. Edward’s case finally came to the attention of Philippine embassy officials when another man, a welder, ran away from a work detail near Hamilton and eventually got in touch with his embassy. A few days later, consular staff rescued the remaining men from the farmhouse, including Edward. Now, Edward has a home and a paying job in Saskatoon, and is in the process of sponsoring his family to Canada. (Based on a true Canadian story.)
Copyright © 2014 Province of British Columbia.