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‘Modern day slavery’: Why human trafficking often flies under the radar in Canada – National

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Forty-three victims of human trafficking were freed this month by police in Ontario.

The victims, mostly men from Mexico aged between 20 and 46, were rescued by officials following a lengthy investigation by Barrie Police and the Ontario Provincial Police.

The workers were allegedly made to live in squalid conditions in Barrie and Wasaga Beach, and were forced to work for a cleaning company.

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READ MORE: 43 victims of labour human trafficking freed following investigation in Barrie, Wasaga Beach

OPP deputy commissioner Rick Barnum spoke about the case at a press conference Monday, describing the situation as modern day slavery.

“The commodity being bought and sold is people. Human trafficking is modern day slavery,” Barnum said.

“Human trafficking involves the recruitment, transportation and harbouring of persons for the purposes of exploitation, typically in the sex industry, or in this case forced labour. Exploitation is the key element of this offence.”

WATCH: Dozens of Mexican workers freed after labour human trafficking






Barnum explained human-trafficking victims are often from extremely vulnerable populations, including migrant workers and new immigrants.

While human trafficking happens in nearly every country of the world, it often goes unreported.

Labour exploitation in Canada

Yvon Dandurand, a criminologist and professor at the University of the Fraser Valley in B.C., explained human trafficking often doesn’t get enough attention in Canada, and especially not the issue of labour exploitation.

Those being exploited over labour are usually forced to perform tasks outside of their mandate and are underpaid. Many of them work on farms or mines in areas were there is not a lot of police presence, Dandurand explained.

READ MORE: Man and woman arrested in human-trafficking probe across southern Ontario

“The victimization goes on for sometimes years” before it is caught, Dandurand noted.

“Human trafficking in general does not come to the attention of police, because people don’t report it.

“This is the kind of crime that only comes to the surface when the police looks for it proactively,” he said, pointing to the Barrie investigation as an example.

WATCH: ‘I went to bed a slave, woke up a free man,’ Barrie human trafficking victim says






Dandurand added that the majority of reported human trafficking cases in Canada are from Ontario.

“Does that tell us that human trafficking doesn’t happen elsewhere? It tells us that in Ontario, law enforcement has devoted more attention and more resources to the investigation of those cases,” he said.

Human trafficking reports ‘steadily’ increasing

According to Statistics Canada, there were 340 police-reported cases of human trafficking in Canada in 2016, where it was also the most serious violation.

StatCan explained the number has been steadily rising since the agency began collecting data.

READ MORE: Woman tells N.S. court she wanted to die after being lured into prostitution

“Between 2009 and 2016, there were a total of 1,220 police-reported incidents of human trafficking where it was the
most serious violation,” the report, titled, “Trafficking in persons in Canada,” explained.

“The number and rate of human trafficking incidents have steadily increased since 2010.”

In Canada, most cases of human trafficking involve other offences, such as assault or sexual exploitation.

The vast majority of victims in Canada between 2009 and 2016, at 95 per cent, were women. And among women, 70 per cent were younger than 25 years of age.

Nearly three in 10 victims experienced some sort of physical injury. Many also suffer from emotional and psychological trauma, the StatCan report noted.

WATCH: Human trafficking victim hopes her story will save others






Hidden operations

The operations are often so hidden that even the companies who employ these workers claim they didn’t have knowledge of the exploitation.

That seemed to be the case in Barrie, where the company that employed the Mexican workers said it wasn’t aware of their plight.

In a news release Tuesday, Living Water Resorts explained it hired the workers through a housekeeping company and paid them $21 per hour. It said they were “unaware of any alleged abuse.”

“In light of the allegations that have come forward and police reports of the living conditions and treatment of these contract workers, the Resort has cut ties with the third party contractor immediately,” the release read.

WATCH: Durham Region human trafficking awareness program launches






Difficult to prove in court

Beyond that, Dandurand explained human trafficking cases that make into court rarely result in convictions.

According to the Integrated Criminal Court Survey, between 2008 and 2016 there were 84 completed adult criminal court cases in Canada where human trafficking was the most serious offence.

READ MORE: Canada deports 20 members of Hamilton-area human trafficking ring

Sixty per cent of those cases were stayed or withdrawn. One-third resulted in a guilty finding, and the accused was acquitted in five cases.

“It’s a very difficult crime to prove. Sometimes you get the cooperation of victims, but not always,” Dandurand said.

“Victims of human trafficking are not always the most persuasive witnesses. They are traumatized and fear reprisal.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Anglais

Nostalgia and much more with Starburst XXXtreme

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Get a taste of adventure with Starburst XXXtreme based on the legendary NetEnt Game. The nostalgic themes are sure to capture fans of the classic version as they get treated to higher intensity, better visuals, and features. The most significant element of the game is its volatility. Patience will not be an essential virtue considering the insane gameplay, and there is a lot of win potential involved. It retains the original makeup of the previous game while adding a healthy dose of adrenaline. 

Starburst Visuals and Symbols

The game is definitely more conspicuous than before. The setting happens over a 5-reel, 3-row game grid with nine fixed win lines, which function if a succession from the left to the right reel is present. Only those players that that attain the highest win per bet line are paid. From a visual standpoint, the Starburst XXXtreme slots illustrates lightning effects behind the reels, which is not surprising as it is inherited from the original version. Available themes include Classic, Jewels, and Space. The game is also available in both desktop and mobile versions, which is advantageous for players considering the global pandemic. According to Techguide, American gamers are increasingly having more engaging gaming experiences to socialize to fill the gap of in-person interaction. Starburst XXXtreme allows them to fill the social void at a time when there is so much time to be had indoors. 

Starburst XXXTreme Features

Players get to alternate on three features which are Starburst Wilds, XXXtreme Spins, and Random Wilds. The first appears on reels 2,3, or 4. When these land, they expand to cover all positions while also calculating the wins. They are also locked for a respin. If a new one hits, it also becomes locked while awarding another respin. Starburst XXXtreme offers a choice between two scenarios for a higher stake. In one scenario with a ten times stake, the Starburst Wild is set on random on reels 2,3, or 4, and a multiplier starts the respin. The second scenario, which has a 95 times stake, starts with two guaranteed starburst wilds on reels 2,3, or 4. it also plays out using respin game sequence and features. The game also increases the potential with the Random Wilds feature to add Starburst Wilds to a vacant reel at the end of a spin. Every Starburst Wild gives a random multiplier with potential wins of x2, x3, x5, x10, x25, x50, x100, or even x150.

The new feature is sure to be a big hit with the gaming market as online gambling has shown significant growth during the lockdown. AdAge indicates the current casino customer base is an estimated one in five Americans, so Starburst XXXtreme’s additional features will achieve considerable popularity. 

What We Think About The Game

The gambling market has continued to diversify post-pandemic, so it is one of the most opportune times to release an online casino-based game. Thankfully Starburst XXXtreme features eye-catching visuals, including the jewels and space themes. These attract audience participation and make the gameplay inviting. The game also has a nostalgic edge. The previous NetEnt iteration featured similar visuals and gameplay, so the audience has some familiarity with it. The producers have revamped this version by tweaking the features to improve the volatility and engagement. 

That is characterized by the potential win cap of 200,000 times the bet. Starburst XXXtreme does not just give betting alternatives for players that want to go big. The increase of multipliers also provides a great experience. If the respins in the previous version were great, knowing that multipliers can go hundreds of times overtakes the game to a new level. 

Players should get excited about this offering. All of the features can be triggered within a single spin. Whether one plays the standard game or takes the XXXtreme spin route, it is possible to activate all of the features. Of course, the potential 200,000 times potential is a huge carrot. However, the bet size is probably going to be restricted and vary depending on the casino. It is also worth pointing out that a malfunction during the gameplay will void all of the payouts and progress. Overall, the game itself has been designed to provide a capped win of 200,000 times the original bet. 

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Anglais

‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year

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In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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Anglais

MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal

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MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.

STUDIO SHORTAGE

The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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