Milestone or Missed Opportunity? A Critical Analysis of the Impact of Domotor on the Future of Human Trafficking Cases in Canada

AuthorBethany Hastie - Alison Yule
PositionDoctoral candidate at the Institute of Comparative Law, McGill University - Doctoral student at the Faculty of Law at Allard Hall, University of British Columbia
Bethany Hastie & Alison Yule*
CITED: (2014) 19 Appeal 83–93
In 2011, the largest hum an track ing operation to date in Cana da was uncovered
in Hamilton, Ontario. e Domotor case involved over ninete en tracked persons ,
transnationa l elements, and a crimina l organization eng aged in an elaborate f raud
scheme.1 As the rst suc cessful ly prosecuted case of internationa l human trac king,
and the largest u ncovered tracki ng operation to date in Canad a, the Domotor cas e
has been hailed a s a signicant mi lestone in the ght aga inst human tra cking in
Canada.2 Yet, little time has be en taken to critica lly reect on this ca se, assessin g not
only its successes but a lso its failures, a nd the implications it may have for future c ases
of human track ing in Canad a. While the pa rticular cr iminal justic e outcomes of
this case h ave been praised as progres s in Canada’s response to human tra cking, t he
* Bethany Hastie is a doctor al candidate at the Institute of Comparati ve Law, McGill University.
Alison Yule is a doctoral stude nt at the Faculty of Law at Allard Hall, Universit y of British
Columbia. The authors wis h to acknowledge the suppor t of Professor Benjamin Perrin (Faculty of
Law at Allard Hall, Universit y of British Columbia) in the preparation of t his article.
1 This article uses the term “Domotor” to refer gen erally to the case, which includes two j udicial
decisions: a bail review hear ing, R v Domotor, 2011 ONSC 626, [2011] OJ No 6357 (QL) [Domotor
2011 ]; and a sentencing decision, R v Domotor, [2012] OJ No 3630 (SC) (QL) [Domotor 2012]. This
article focuses on the key a ccused in the case, Ferenc Domotor Sr, who ple d guilty to charges of
human tracking, along w ith other oences. Ultimately, twelve mem bers of the organized crime
group pled guilty to var ious charges in the course of the investigati on, eight of which included
guilty pleas for the charg e of conspiracy to trac in humans: see “ Hamilton human tracking
kingpin sentenced to 9 years ” CBC News (3 April 2012), online: CBC .
2 See, i.e., Nicole O’Reilly, “Couple sentenced in la rgest human tracking case in Can adian history”
The Hamilton Spectator (3 April 2012), online: [O’Reilly, “Couple”];
Samina Esha, “Ferenc Do motor sentenced to nine years in prison in C anada’s largest-ever human
tracking ring” The National Post (4 April 2012), online: . Prior to
Domotor, only one case involving a foreign nationa l victim had proceeded to trial u nder charges
of human tracking in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, infra note 18: see R v Ng, 2 007
BCPC 204. All other cases know n to have resulted in conviction for human tra cking charges
under s 279.01– s 279.04 of the Criminal Code, RSC 1985, c C-46 involved the do mestic sex
tracking of Canadian cit izens or residents. See, i.e., Roya l Canadian Mounted Police, “Human
Tracking in Canada: A Threat Assess ment” (Ottawa: Royal Canadi an Mounted Police, 2010) at 1,
23 [RCMP]; Department of J ustice, “An Overview of Tracking in Persons and th e Government of
Canada’s Eorts to respond to t his Crime: 2010-2011”, online: Department of Justice Canada
[DOJ]; “Canada”, United Nations Oce on Drugs and Crime H uman
Tracking Case Law Database, onlin e: ; Benjamin Perrin, Invisib le
Chains: Canada’s Underground World of Human Tracking (Toronto: Penguin Canada, 2010) [Perrin].

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