Pinay's ex-employer sentenced to jail for human trafficking
VANCOUVER, Canada – The one-and-a-half-year jail term for caregiver Leticia Sarmiento's employer Franco Orr left the defense in shock.
The Supreme Court found Orr guilty on all three counts of human trafficking, employment of a foreign national without the proper papers, and misleading immigration officials.
Orr's wife, Nicole Huen, was acquitted.
Sarmiento, the star witness in the case, said she was expecting a longer jail time for Orr.
"Syempre gusto kong magkaroon ng hustisya, mababa sa inaasahan ko, at least nabigyan pa rin ng hustisya," said Sarmiento.
In its decision, the court rejected the conditional sentence for Orr to send a strong message that Canada will not allow anyone to violate its laws.
A member of the Legislative Assembly Mable Elmore, who came to the sentencing, noted the significance of the ruling.
Elmore said this will become the benchmark for all similar cases of human trafficking in Canada and will be referenced by courts in other countries.
"It sets a precedent in Canada, the first finding of guilt of human trafficking under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. It's also the first sentencing so I think it sends a strong message of deterrence that no one should be excused for violating the law," said Elmore.
Sarmiento hopes her experience will encourage other abused workers to speak out and fight for their rights.
She is truly grateful for having won the case against her employers, and thanked those who have given their support.
"Unang-una, nagpapasalamat ako sa poong maykapal na hindi niya ako pinabayaan. Ayoko sanang umiyak pero talagang nararamdaman ko, yon nagpapasalamat ako sa pagkakataon na nakalabas ako sa pamilyang Orr. Hindi ko inaasahan na may mga tao pala na makakatulong sa akin," she said.
Sarmiento is now ready to move on and looks forward to the day when she can finally bring her three children to Canada.