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Wealthy South Asian Woman Accused Of Trafficking Housekeeper From Africa Found Not Guilty

Mumtaz Ladha wascharged in BC SupremeCourt with humantrafficking underthe Immigration Act,employing a foreign nationalwithout authorization,misrepresentingfacts to the High Commissionof Canada in Tanzania, and misrepresenting factsto Citizenship and Immigration Canada. But B.C. SupremeCourt Justice Lauri Ann Fenlon says the young woman gaveevidence that was not credible and the Crown did not provethat the woman was coerced into coming to Canada or wasworking for the family here. However, the judge didn’t clarifiedin her ruling what the woman was doing at the Ladhahome in West Vancouver, including being left there whileLadha went back to Africa. It is not known yet whether theCrown plans to appeal.

Mumtaz Ladha wascharged in BC SupremeCourt with humantrafficking underthe Immigration Act,employing a foreign nationalwithout authorization,misrepresentingfacts to the High Commissionof Canada in Tanzania, and misrepresenting factsto Citizenship and Immigration Canada. But B.C. SupremeCourt Justice Lauri Ann Fenlon says the young woman gaveevidence that was not credible and the Crown did not provethat the woman was coerced into coming to Canada or wasworking for the family here. However, the judge didn’t clarifiedin her ruling what the woman was doing at the Ladhahome in West Vancouver, including being left there whileLadha went back to Africa. It is not known yet whether theCrown plans to appeal.The 60-year-old was accused of lying tothe young woman, whose name isbanned from publication, and then lyingto immigration officials to bring thewoman to Canada illegally in August2008m, reported News 1130.But B.C. Supreme Court Justice LauriAnn Fenlon says the young woman gaveevidence that was not credible and theCrown did not prove that the woman wascoerced into coming to Canada or wasworking for the family here.Fenlon says the complainant treated heremployer with callous disregard for herbenefactor and for the truth. She saysshe could not believe the version ofevents put forward by the complainant,who claims she was treated like a slave inthe home of Mumtaz Ladha betweenMarch of 2008 and June of 2009, reportedCKNW news.The judge heard that the woman workedfor Ladha at a hair salon in Dar esSalaam, and believed she was coming toCanada to work in a salon here.In 2009 the young woman left the mansionin upscale West Vancouver and wentto a women’s shelter.The judge has determined the youngwoman lied in order to try and stay inCanada.She has found Ladha not guiltyon all four counts, including chargesalleging human trafficking and falsifyingdocuments to immigration officials to tryand make sure this woman could come toCanada from Africa.But the Crown had argued that Ladhabrought the woman to be an unpaidhousekeeper and used “fraud, deceptionand coercion” to trick the woman andfool immigration officials.The Crown contended Ladha repeatedlylied to immigration officials in Africanand Canada, first to obtain the woman’sinitial travel visa and then to obtain a visaextension five months after the woman’sarrival.”There’s a pattern of fraud, deceptionand coercion that occurs here,” Crownlawyer Peter LaPrairie said in his finalarguments recently.”Mrs. Ladha used means of coercion,deception and fraud to convince (thewoman) to come to Canada. She misrepresentedthe circumstances of the travelin the application for the visa. And shemisrepresented the circumstances for thestay in Canada in the extension.”LaPrairie said the lies began in Tanzania,where the woman worked as a cleaner ata hair salon owned by Ladha in the city ofDar es Salaam. The woman had previouslyworked for Ladha as a housekeeper.The woman testified she was initiallyreluctant to travel to Canada, but Ladhaoffered her a job at a salon in Vancouvermaking $200 a month — twice what shewas earning in Tanzania.All along, Ladha’s plan was to use thewoman as her personal maid, LaPrairiesaid. Ladha then helped the woman applyfor a passport and a travel visa, filling outthe forms in English. The young womanonly knew Swahili.The trip to Canada was described on theapplication as a two-month stay to allowthe woman to help Ladha with a medicalcondition. The trial has heard evidenceLadha suffered from vertigo andosteoarthritis, but LaPrairie said therewas no evidence the woman had everassisted Ladha with medical tasks, evenwhen she was Ladha’s housekeeper severalyears earlier.On the travel visa application,the young woman was describedas Ladha’s longtime personal assistantand caregiver, even though at the timethe woman was working at Ladha’s salon.”This isn’t just a mere slip,” saidLaPrairie. “This is an attempt to misleadthe authorities on the purpose of thevisit, the length of the visit, and theirrelationship.”By January 2009, five months after theirarrival, Ladha took the woman to animmigration consultant to apply for anextension to her visa, the trial has heard.The information on that application,which LaPrairie said was provided byLadha, indicates the woman needed theextension to continue to help Ladha withher medical problems.The information on that application,which LaPrairie said was provided byLadha, indicates the woman needed theextension to continue to help Ladhawith her medical problems.However, Ladha already had plans tospend the next six months in Africa,LaPrairie said, and she left the womanbehind in Canada several weeks aftersubmitting the visa extension application.LaPrairie said the only explanationis that the answers provided for the visaextension were lies.The judge hearing the case agreed therewere inaccuracies in the various immigrationforms connected to the case,but she also questioned whether sucherrors meant Ladha was guilty.It is not known yet whether the Crownplans to appeal.

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