Human trafficker gets new trial

Man who trafficked Filipina caregiver faces new trial

By Ted Alcuitas

Vancouver, B.C.- Franco Orr, the first person convicted for human trafficking under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act began his second trial on Monday, June 13 at B.C. Supreme Court.

Orr launched a successful appeal of his conviction in March 2015 and a three-judge panel of the B.C. Court of Appeal ordered a new trial.

A jury found Franco Orr guilty of three counts under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act  for luring his Filipina live-in caregiver to Canada from Hong Kong in 2013.

The caregiver cannot be named under a publication ban.

In October last year, Orr pleaded guilty to one of the three counts — unlawfully employing a foreign national — but later withdrew his plea and the matter was set back for a second trial.

In his opening statement, Crown counsel Charles Hough told court that the caregiver started to work for Orr in August 2007 when the accused was living with his wife and children in Hong Kong.

In December 2007, shortly after the birth of their third child, Orr and his wife, both Canadian citizens, decided to move back to Canada, Hough told the judge.

Orr told the caregiver about coming to Canada and working for the family in Vancouver and told her that after working for two years in Canada she would become a permanent resident, said Hough.

The Vancouver man said he would help her family to move to Canada so she would be reunited with her kids and she would follow the employment rules in Canada and have the same working conditions that she had had in Hong Kong, said Hough.

With Orr’s help, the nanny applied for an exemption from a requirement for a work permit and received a temporary resident visa, with the cover letter from Orr stating that he was going to Canada on a temporary basis and would need the nanny only for a short period of time, said the prosecutor.

“The upshot of all this is that Mr. Orr used the business visitor exemption to get the nanny to Canada. Under that approach he didn’t have to submit to the Canadian authorities an employment contract that’s required under the Live-in Caregiver program.”

The nanny was brought to Canada in September 2008 and began to work for the family at their home in Vancouver, but her working conditions were “very different” from Hong Kong, said Hough.

In June 2010, an incident happened between the nanny and Huen at the Vancouver home. Huen got “very angry” at the nanny and following a physical altercation, the nanny phoned 911, said Hough.

Vancouver police arrived and discovered that the nanny was in Canada illegally and did not have a work permit, her visa having long since expired, he said.

Crown called an Immigration officer as its first witness and the trial will continue.

Orr, who was originally sentenced to 18 months in jail is out on bail for the new trial.

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