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Vancouver woman accused of human trafficking

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Summary of story from The Vancouver Sun, August 5, 2011

A woman from West Vancouver accused of holding a 21-year-old African woman captive in slave-like conditions is due to appear in court on August 10, following her arrest last month.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) revealed on Thursday that they arrested 55-year-old Mumtaz Ladha on July 19 when she returned to Vancouver International Airport from an undisclosed African country.

She is being charged with one count of human trafficking and one of human smuggling, following the 21-year old woman’s allegations that she was confined to Ladha’s home and forced to work 18 hours a day, seven days a week without pay.

Both charges carry severe penalties; human smuggling alone carries a maximum fine of $500,000 and a 10-year prison sentence for a first offence.

Ladha allegedly hired the woman to work in a Vancouver-region hair salon in the summer of 2008. She confiscated the woman’s passport when she arrived and forced her into domestic servitude.

This reportedly included hand-washing the underwear of the entire household, hand washing the cars of visitors and eating leftovers to survive.

The woman escaped in June 2009 to a refuge, where she received immediate assistance and the RCMP were called.

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