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Canada: Wikileaks Trafficking violations - sex and smuggling in Quebec

Publish Date: 28 Apr 2011
Source: Wikileaks

Viewing cable 03MONTREAL266, TRAFFICKING VIOLATIONS: SEX AND SMUGGLING IN QUEBEC

 

Reference ID 03MONTREAL266
Created 2003-02-27 15:01
Released 2011-04-28 00:00
Classification UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Origin Consulate Montreal
 

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MONTREAL 000266 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE  BUT UNCLASSIFIED 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KCRM KFRD KWMN ELAB SMIG PREF PHUM
SUBJECT: TRAFFICKING VIOLATIONS: SEX AND SMUGGLING IN QUEBEC 
 
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: MONTREAL, SOMETIMES REFERRED TO AS "THE 
PARIS OF THE WEST," HAS ALSO DEVELOPED A REPUTATION IN THE 
SEX-TOURISM INDUSTRY AS "THE BANGKOK OF THE WEST." NOT 
SURPRISINGLY, MOST TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS IN QUEBEC PROVINCE 
INVOLVES WOMEN WHO ARE TRAFFICKED INTO THE SEX TRADE.  IN 
FEBRUARY 2003, MONTREAL POLICE BROKE UP A JUVENILE 
PROSTITUTION RING IN WHICH MINOR GIRLS WERE BEING FORCED TO 
ENGAGE IN NUDE DANCING AND PROSTITUTION. MONTREAL POLICE 
CONTACTS REPORT THAT AFTER THEY STARTED TO CRACK DOWN ON 
PROSTITUTION AND SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF MINORS, MANY RINGS 
MOVED BUSINESS OUT OF MONTREAL TO QUEBEC CITY AND NIAGARA 
FALLS. IN ADDITION TO TRAFFICKING FOR THE SEX TRADE, U.S. 
AND CANADIAN IMMIGRATION OFFICIALS HAVE SEEN INCREASED 
SMUGGLING IN PERSONS--SOME OF WHICH CAN BE CONSIDERED 
TRAFFICKING--FROM COSTA RICA, MEXICO, CHINA, AND RUSSIA. 
LOCAL, PROVINCIAL AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCIES ARE 
ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN COMBATING ALL FORMS OF TRAFFICKING IN 
THE PROVINCE.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2. (SBU) THE QUEBEC-BASED SEX TRADE. "LET YOUR FINGERS DO 
THE WALKING," BELL'S YELLOW PAGES MOTTO HAS A DOUBLE 
ENTENDRE WHEN IT COMES TO THE 20 PAGES OF ADVERTISING FOR 
ESCORT AGENCIES IN THE 2003 PHONE BOOK.  THESE ADS, UP FROM 
17 PAGES IN 2002 AND 2 IN 1998, HIGHLIGHT WHAT A BIG 
BUSINESS THE SEX TRADE HAS BECOME IN QUEBEC. WHILE THE 
CRIMINAL CODE OF CANADA PROHIBITS SOLICITING FOR THE 
PURPOSES OF PROSTITUTION, KEEPING A "BAWDY HOUSE" AND 
"PROCURING AND LIVING OFF THE INCOME OF PROSTITUTION," 
ESCORT AGENCIES ARE ABLE TO MANEUVER AROUND REGULATIONS. 
ASIDE FROM ESCORT AGENCIES, QUEBEC IS KNOWN FOR NUMEROUS 
STRIP CLUBS WHERE, UNLIKE IN THE UNITED STATES, CLIENTS CAN 
TOUCH THE DANCERS. MANY TRACE THE GROWING SEX INDUSTRY IN 
QUEBEC TO A 1999 CANADIAN SUPREME COURT DECISION THAT 
LEGALIZED "CONTACT DANCING," WHEREBY CUSTOMERS IN STRIP 
CLUBS ARE ALLOWED TO TOUCH THE BREASTS, BUTTOCKS, AND THIGHS 
OF THE DANCERS. ACCORDING TO A 2002 ARTICLE IN THE GAZETTE, 
THESE LAP DANCES, OR PRIVATE CUBICLE ENCOUNTERS, SELL FOR 
AROUND $10 A PIECE AND BRING IN ABOUT 50% MORE REVENUES FOR 
CLUBS THAN THEY EARNED BEFORE THE 1999 LEGISLATION. 
 
3. (SBU) A PROFILE OF THE VICTIMS. WHILE MANY OF THE WOMEN 
WHO WORK FOR STRIP CLUBS AND ESCORT AGENCIES DO SO 
WILLINGLY, INVESTIGATIONS AND ARRESTS OVER THE PAST YEAR 
HAVE UNCOVERED HUNDREDS WHO ARE COERCED INTO THE BUSINESS. 
WHEN ASKED FOR A PROFILE OF THE GIRLS HE ENCOUNTERS, A 
MONTREAL POLICE INVESTIGATOR THAT POST INTERVIEWED DESCRIBED 
THE FOLLOWING SCENARIO.  VULNERABLE RUNAWAY GIRLS, MANY OF 
WHOM ARE MINORS, MEET MEN WHO OFFER THEM FOOD AND SHELTER. 
THEN, IT IS "PAYBACK TIME."  THE MEN REQUEST THAT THE GIRLS 
BECOME DANCERS IN STRIP CLUBS. IF THE GIRLS PROTEST, THEY 
ARE TOLD THAT THEY OWE THE MEN THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS FOR THE 
INVESTMENT THEY HAVE MADE BY TAKING CARE OF THEM.  THE 
CARETAKERS THEN ACQUIRE FALSE IDENTITY CARDS FOR THE GIRLS 
TO SHOW THAT THEY ARE OVER 18 AND SET THEM UP IN BARS AND 
CLUBS THROUGHOUT QUEBEC AND IN NIAGARA FALLS. ONE GIRL 
REPORTED THAT SHE EARNED $300-$400 A DAY, BUT WAS ONLY GIVEN 
$25-$50 OF HER EARNINGS. THIS SCENARIO MATCHES THAT OF THE 
JUVENILE PROSTITUTION RING BROKEN UP BY MONTREAL POLICE IN 
FEBRUARY 2003.  THE GAZETTE REPORTED THAT THE TWO 
RINGLEADERS WOULD BEGIN BY DATING THE GIRLS AND BECOMING 
THEIR LOVERS, AND THEN FORCE THEM TO STRIP IN BARS IN 
MONTREAL AND TORONTO.  WHEN DANCING DID NOT GENERATE ENOUGH 
REVENUES, THE GIRLS WERE PUSHED INTO PROSTITUTION. 
 
4.  (SBU) POST'S POLICE CONTACT REPORTED THAT MOST OF THE 
GIRLS HE ENCOUNTERS ARE CANADIAN. HOWEVER, ACCORDING TO 
OTHER POST CONTACTS, THERE HAVE BEEN A FEW CASES OVER THE 
PAST YEAR IN WHICH FOREIGN WOMEN AND GIRLS WERE TRAFFICKED 
TO QUEBEC FOR THE SEX TRADE. IN ONE CASE, TWO RUSSIAN WOMEN 
WERE BROUGHT TO CANADA FOR THE EXPRESS PURPOSE OF NUDE 
DANCING AND PROSTITUTION.  IN ANOTHER CASE, AN INDIAN WOMAN 
TRAFFICKED TWO MINORS INTO CANADA FOR PROSTITUTION. 
ACCORDING TO A CANADIAN IMMIGRATION OFFICIAL, THE WOMAN WAS 
APPREHENDED AND SENTENCED TO TWO YEARS IN PRISON BEFORE 
BEING DEPORTED TO INDIA. 
 
5.  (SBU) WHO ARE THE RINGLEADERS?  MOTORCYCLE GANGS ARE THE 
KINGPINS BEHIND PROSTITUTION, STRIP CLUBS, AND ESCORT 
AGENCIES IN QUEBEC.  ACCORDING TO THE CRIMINAL INTELLIGENCE 
SERVICE CANADA 2002 REPORT, THE HELLS ANGELS ARE THE LARGEST 
AND MOST CRIMINALLY ACTIVE OUTLAW MOTORCYCLE GANG IN CANADA 
WITH 35 FULL CHAPTERS. IN ORDER TO HAVE GIRLS PLACED IN 
CLUBS AND AGENCIES, OTHER HAITIAN, ASIAN, AND RUSSIAN GANG 
MEMBERS TEND TO USE THE MOTORCYCLE GANGS AS MIDDLEMEN. WITH 
INCREASED POLICE ATTENTION ON THE MONTREAL SCENE (WITHIN THE 
PAST SIX MONTHS, MONTREAL POLICE HAVE SET UP A TASK FORCE ON 
JUVENILE SEXUAL EXPLOITATION), THESE GANGS ARE EXPANDING 
INTO MARKETS IN QUEBEC CITY, OTTAWA, AND TORONTO. IN 2002- 
2003, POLICE HAVE SEEN A RAMPANT INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF 
GIRLS BEING SENT FROM QUEBEC TO WORK AS STRIPPERS AND 
PROSTITUTES IN NIAGARA FALLS. THE HANDLERS TAKE LARGE CUTS 
OF THE GIRLS' EARNINGS, MAKING IT A VERY LUCRATIVE BUSINESS. 
IN QUEBEC CITY, THERE HAVE EVEN BEEN CONFIRMED CASES IN 
WHICH GIRLS HAVE BEEN SOLD FROM ONE HANDLER TO ANOTHER. 
 
6.   (SBU)  PROTECTION EFFORTS. ON JULY 28, 2002, CANADA 
AMENDED THE CRIMINAL CODE AND THE CANADA EVIDENCE ACT TO 
ENHANCE THE PROTECTION OF MINORS WHO ARE VICTIMS OF SEXUAL 
EXPLOITATION. THE LEGISLATION IS ONE STEP IN SATISFYING 
CANADA'S COMMITMENT TO THE JANUARY 2002 UN PROTOCOL ON THE 
RIGHTS OF CHILDREN. AT THE GRASSROOTS LEVEL, THERE ARE 
SEVERAL SOCIAL SERVICE AGENCIES, FUNDED BY PRIVATE AND 
PUBLIC SOURCES, THAT OFFER PROTECTION TO YOUNG WOMEN 
INVOLVED IN THE SEX TRADE.  ONE ORGANIZATION IN MONTREAL, 
"PASSAGES" IS A SHELTER FOR 18- TO 30-YEAR OLD WOMEN. MANY 
OF THE WOMEN WHO COME TO THE SHELTER ARE INVOLVED IN DRUGS 
AND PROSTITUTION.  HOWEVER, A PASSAGES EMPLOYEE STATED THAT 
SHE RARELY SEES THE YOUNG WOMEN INVOLVED IN SEX TRAFFICKING 
RINGS; SHE SPECULATED THAT THE HANDLERS OF THESE WOMEN 
MONITOR THEIR ACTIVITIES CLOSELY AND PREVENT THEM FROM 
ACCESSING AVAILABLE SOCIAL SERVICES. IN THE OPINION OF 
POST'S POLICE CONTACT, ONCE GIRLS ARE BROUGHT INTO A 
TRAFFICKING RING, THEY FACE A SLIPPERY SLOPE. VULNERABLE 
GIRLS, DRAWN TO OFFERS OF PROTECTION AND CARE, OFTEN THINK 
THEY ARE IN LOVE WITH THEIR "PROTECTOR."  COERCED INTO NUDE 
DANCING, THEN PROSTITUTION, THE GIRLS QUICKLY BECOME PART OF 
A SEAMY WORLD IN WHICH DRUG USE AND ADDICTION IS PREVALENT. 
NEEDING INCOME TO SUPPORT THEIR DRUG HABITS, MANY GIRLS FIND 
IT EVEN MORE DIFFICULT TO BREAK OUT OF THE SEX TRADE. 
 
7. (SBU) SMUGGLING. IN 2002-2003, U.S. AND CANADIAN 
IMMIGRATION OFFICIALS HAVE ALSO SEEN CASES OF SMUGGLING TO 
AND THROUGH CANADA, SOME OF WHICH MAY BE CLASSIFIED AS 
"TRAFFICKING." MEXICANS, COSTA RICANS, CHINESE, AND RUSSIANS 
HAVE BEEN THE MAIN ORGANIZERS. IN 2002-2003, NUMEROUS 
MEXICANS FILED CLAIMS FOR REFUGEE STATUS IN CANADA AFTER 
HAVING BEEN SMUGGLED ONTO FLIGHTS TO MONTREAL.  TO DATE, THE 
ORGANIZERS BEHIND THIS RING HAVE NOT BEEN APPREHENDED.  IN 
ANOTHER CONTINUING CASE, VARIOUS GROUPS OF COSTA RICANS HAVE 
BEEN TRAVELING TO CANADA ON FALSIFIED CANADIAN VISAS. AFTER 
ARRIVING IN CANADA, THEY PROCEED TO A SECLUDED PART OF THE 
U.S.-CANADA BORDER AND FLEE TO THE U.S. SIDE. THIS OPERATION 
HAD BECOME SO ORGANIZED THAT SOME OF THE GROUPS WERE MET AT 
THE AIRPORT BY TOUR BUSES WHICH DROVE THEM TO THE BORDER. 
WHILE THE ROYAL MOUNTED CANADIAN POLICE RECENTLY ARRESTED 
THE KINGPIN OF THIS OPERATION, INTELLIGENCE REPORTS WARN OF 
AN ONGOING BATTLE WITH COSTA RICAN SMUGGLING.  IN OTHER 
INSTANCES, IMMIGRATION OFFICIALS APPREHENDED NUMEROUS 
CHINESE CITIZENS TRAVELING AS IMPOSTERS ON JAPANESE 
PASSPORTS. EACH PERSON REPORTEDLY PAID UP TO $30,000 FOR 
HIS/HER FAKE PASSPORT.  OFTEN TO GUARANTEE FULL PAYMENT, THE 
ORGANIZERS WOULD HOLD THE CUSTOMERS' FAMILIES HOSTAGE IN 
CHINA OR SUBJECT THEM TO FORCED LABOR. FINALLY, A CASE THAT 
IS STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION INVOLVES A RUSSIAN DUO 
SUSPECTED OF SMUGGLING ALIENS OF VARIOUS NATIONALITIES FROM 
CANADA TO THE UNITED STATES BY HIDING THEM INSIDE A TRACTOR 
TRAILER TRUCK. THE DUO CHARGES EACH FOREIGN NATIONAL $3,000 
AND TRANSPORTS 3-10 PEOPLE TO THE UNITED STATES ON EACH 
TRIP.  IMMIGRATION OFFICIALS ARE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THESE 
MEN. 
 
POLICE CONTACT: AGENT SERGE MORIN (YOUTH AND STREET GANGS 
PORTFOLIO) 
ALLEN


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