The human trafficking world has become an even bigger threat than before in the past few years, and no matter how many arrests are made, it seems the underground market is impossible to slow down. But, some Canadians feel as if the system is moving backward, considering two men who were caught for playing a role in the trafficking of a 14 and 17-year-old girl are now claiming that their 4-year sentence is "cruel" and too heavy in light of their actions.
Both Nicholas Kulafofski, 20 and Minas Abara, 19 are currently serving the 4-year sentence they were given this summer after pleading guilty this past June to their crimes. Those crimes included their role with helping Paywand Sohrabzadeh, also 19, lure a 14-year-old and 17-year-old into the sex trade.
Sohrabzadeh found the 14-year-old on Instagram and managed to get her to meet with him. From there, the trio took the two girls to hotels from London and Windsor to Barrie to meet with different men. On top of that, they took nude photos of the 14-year-old victim and posted them on a sex service site where she was listed as a 20-year-old woman willing to be sold for sex.
The two Kitchener natives are now claiming that their mandatory minimum sentence of 4 years enforced through the Criminal Code of Canada interrupts their "right to be free of cruel and unusual treatment," citing the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. While the concept of mandatory minimum sentences has been around for a while, many more were added throughout 2005-2016 under Stephen Harper.
It's not uncommon for Canadian judges to overturn the minimum penalty when it comes to human trafficking case. But, with the rule still in the books, it's a matter of who is judging your case. Both men's defence lawyers claim the 4-year sentence is extreme and would "reinforce criminality rather than reform or rehabilitate them from criminality." Especially considering that the men were allegedly not physical with the teen victims they held captive in the hotel room. Their lawyers are suggesting a sentence between 15 to 18 months behind bars, as well as two years of probation.
The third man, Sohrabzadeh, on the other hand, had not only been caught on a human trafficking charge but also with making and profiting off child pornography. His lawyer is not looking to challenge his sentence of 4 years.
While the subject on whether mandatory minimum penalties actually deter crime or not is a discussion that isn't remotely near a resolution. Not many Canadians are stomaching this situation well, and understandably so.
What do you think, should the pair get a lighter sentence or do they deserve to serve the full 4 years behind bars?
Source: CBC News