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Bradford woman pleads guilty in human-trafficking labour case

South Simcoe police and Canada Border Services Agency launched investigation into forced labour involving cleaning company
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One of two Bradford women charged with human trafficking by recruiting residents from Mexico to work illegally has pleaded guilty to two charges under the Immigration Protection Act.

Fanny Chimoy Melendez and Maria Flores Evariston, both of Bradford, were charged nearly two years ago after South Simcoe Police Service and the Canada Border Services Agency launched a joint investigation into forced labour human trafficking involving a company that provides cleaning services.

Police at the time said that Mexican-born workers were being recruited, trafficked and defrauded after being brought to Canada under the pretense of proper accommodations and employment. Once they arrived in Canada, the workers were housed in poor living conditions, paid minimal amounts of cash and threatened with deportation, according to police.

With the help of a Spanish interpreter, Chimoy Melendez pleaded guilty Thursday in Superior Court to two charges of employing a foreign national when not authorized under the Immigration Protection Act. She had originally elected to have a trial before a judge and jury.

Melendez will return to court on March 3 when the admitted statement of facts will be read into the court.

The case of the second co-accused, Flores Evariston, has been adjourned to March 4.