Saskatoon woman pleads guilty to charges stemming from human trafficking investigation
SASKATOON -- A 25-year-old woman pleaded guilty to three charges in connection with a human trafficking investigation in Saskatoon.
Dilshad Ali Zada received an 18-month conditional sentence to be served in the community after pleading guilty to uttering threats to cause bodily harm, withholding identification documents and theft exceeding $5,000.
On Tuesday at Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench, court heard how Ali Zada, who went by the alias Nina, recruited three young women to Saskatoon, who were already working as escorts.
Two women were from Quebec and the third was from Moose Jaw.
Crown prosecutor Kathy Grier told the court Ali Zada was a player, but not a major one, in a larger human trafficking scheme.
Grier said Ali Zada was working with others known to the Saskatoon Police Service.
In an agreed statement of facts read in court, Grier said Ali Zada recruited young women through SnapChat.
Once in Saskatoon, Ali Zada would arrange dates for the young women, acting as their pimp. Grier told the court at first Ali Zada would befriend these women, showering them in gifts, but would soon control every aspect of their lives.
“That’s one of the hallmarks of human trafficking, exerting control,” Grier said outside the courthouse. “It’s a slow process of intimidation and control, it’s sort of like starting out with a honeymoon where everyone is treated well and as time goes on you realize you’re trapped, you have no control, you have no money, you have no say over what you do or who you see.”
The victims and Ali Zada split income of about $1,000 a night 50-50, according to the investigation. But because the escort was responsible to pay for all of their expenses including meals, hotel rooms, transportation and licensing, there was little left at the end.
The charge of uttering threats of bodily harm came from one complainant who told police Ali Zada threatened to hospitalize her if she disobeyed her orders. In another instance, Grier said Ali Zada withheld identification documents from a young woman as a manner to exert control over the person, Grier said.
Defence lawyer Brian Pfefferle said this was evidence his client was involved in human trafficking.
“The facts that were alleged had those human trafficking elements to it, control of someone’s documents, is one of those charges. Taking someone’s ID is part and parcel of exerting a level of force on someone,” he said.
Court heard how Ali Zada withheld a year’s worth of income from one of her victims, totalling around $20,000.
Grier said Ali Zada would arrange all the dates with clients and sometimes the victims would be put in situations they were not comfortable with, including having unprotected sex with men. This brought the charge of theft exceeding $5,000 to which Ali Zada pleaded guilty.
Court heard Ali Zada would wait in the parking lots of various hotels in Saskatoon while the dates were happening.
Judge Mona Dovell accepted the 18-month conditional sentence. The human trafficking charges against Ali Zada were stayed.
Published on: May 25th, 2021
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- Posted By: Francois Biber - CTV News
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