SASKATCHEWAN – Two men have been arrested following an investigation by RCMP’s Swift Current Saskatchewan Trafficking Response Team (STRT) into a human trafficking operation.
Mohammad Masum, 41, from Tisdale and Sohel Haider, 52, from Elrose are each charged with trafficking a person. Masum is also charged with three counts of sexual assault. They will appear in Rosetown Circuit Court July 13.
A woman was forced to work 10 to 12 hours a day, seven days a week for several months at restaurants in Gull Lake, Elrose, and Tisdale. When she wasn’t working, she was forced to stay in an unfinished, concrete basement that was dimly lit and heavily water damaged. She was threatened by her employers that her working permit would be taken away or that police would be called if she didn’t comply with the demanding work schedule and restrictions on her freedom.
“This isn’t just a big city issue – human trafficking is present in communities both big and small, including in Saskatchewan,” said Supt. Glenn Church, officer in charge of Saskatchewan RCMP’s Saskatchewan Enforcement Response Team (SERT).
“It’s important that residents recognize the signs of trafficking and report these occurrences to police immediately.”
Supt. Church said this investigation illustrates human trafficking can take many forms, including forced labour.
“We have dedicated resources like STRT working to dismantle trafficking rings, and helping to connect victims with the assistance and resources they need.”
Christine Tell, Minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety, said keeping the people of our province safe is a crucial priority for the Government of Saskatchewan.
“We are pleased to fund the Saskatchewan Enforcement Response Team and appreciate the work they do to ensure our communities are safe places to live, work and raise a family.”
Masum and Haider were arrested by RCMP STRT in Elrose on July 5. A third male was released without charge.
The victim has been provided with supports, including advising her of protections available to her under Saskatchewan’s Protection from Human Trafficking Act.
Saskatchewan RCMP’s Yorkton STRT, Moose Jaw Crime Reduction Team and Prince Albert General Investigation Section, FINTRAC, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Immigration and Career Training, the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice and the Canadian Border Services Agency assisted in this continuing investigation.
Investigators believe there may be more victims of this human trafficking operation and the investigation continues.
If you have information about this or any other incident of human trafficking, or if you or someone you know may be a victim of it, call police immediately. You can also contact the Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-833-900-1010. It’s confidential, available 24/7 and offers services in more than 200 languages. Information can also be submitted anonymously by contacting Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or www.saskcrimestoppers.com.
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