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Fil-Can pleads guilty to human trafficking

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SAN FRANCISCO – A Filipino Canadian woman in Edmonton, Canada pleaded guilty to human trafficking and illegally employing foreign nationals Tuesday, February 2.

Jennilyn Morris, 46, originally from the Philippines, pleaded guilty to two counts in Court of Queen’s Bench under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Morris knowingly used false or misleading information to encourage immigration to Canada between 2007 and 2010, according a report by CBC News.

Also, Morris between 2006 and 2010 hired at least 68 foreign nationals in work they were not authorized to do. She offered jobs to two men and a woman from the Philippines in her Canada-based company, Demot Cleaning, and gave them legitimate employment contracts.

But three Filipinos, Robert Blando, Michael Faustino and Teodora Bautista, testified that Morris underpaid them for work and overtime stipulated in the contracts. Also she did not use them only in the positions approved in the contracts.

Blando, Faustino and Bautista were only allowed to work for Demot, but Morris also used them at Webco. She also paid them two dollars an hour less than their offers. Also she made Bautista illegally work as a caregiver for her children and as a housekeeper.

Morris employed at least 68 foreign nationals who were not authorized to work in Canada for her or any of her related companies. These included people who had work permits for an unrelated company, people who were under the Live-In Caregiver Program, held work permits for other employers, and are on visitor visas.

As well as owning Demot Cleaning, Morris owns Smokey Joe’s Hickory Smoke House, and she had a contract with Webco Printing to provide workers for certain taskes. She also owned four city homes and used three of them as rental units for the foreign workers.

The workers felt Morris would fire them and send them home if they refused the work or complained. Some of the victims reportedly are no longer in Canada.

Human trafficking can lead to a fine of $1 million, life imprisonment or both, while misrepresentation can garner up to $100,000 in fines and up to five years in prison.

For more info, keep reading: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/136274/136274

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