York Regional Police revealed this morning that an Ontario woman was sentenced to over eight years in prison for human trafficking charges. Pardis Senoubari-Abedini will now spend the next eight and a half years in prison on three different charges related to human trafficking involving children.
The now 32-year-old was arrested back in June of 2016. York Regional Police were looking for Senoubari-Abedini in regards to her suspected involvement in a human trafficking case based in Markham. The investigation was launched after a victim, who has not been named by police other than saying that she is female, approached them about a pimp. Senoubari-Abedini ended up turning herself in on June 1, 2016. She was charged with:
- Trafficking in Persons
- Trafficking in Persons Under the Age of 18
- Exercise Direction and Control
- Procuring to Become a Prostitute x2
- Living on the Avails of Prostitution of a Person Under the Age of 18
While police have not provided any information about the victims in this case, based on the charges related to "persons under the age of 18", it's clear that there were children or teenagers involved. After a long court process, Senoubari-Abedini was convicted by a judge on all charges in December of 2018.
At her sentencing hearing, which took place in Newmarket on April 2, Senoubari-Abedini was handed a sentence of eight and a half years in prison. On top of that, she will also pay a fine of $185,000.
Based on Canada's criminal code, this isn't the easiest sentence she could have received but it's not the harshest either.
According to the criminal code, the minimum sentence for trafficking in persons is four years, while the minimum sentence for trafficking in persons under 18 years of age is five years. At eight and a half years, Senoubari-Abedini's sentence is well above both of those minimums.
Meanwhile, the most severe possible sentence that could be handed down in regards to human trafficking is a life sentence, given for trafficking in persons under the age of 18. In order for that sentence to be given, there have to be extenuating circumstances such as kidnapping, committing aggravated sexual assault, or causing the death of the victim.
York Regional Police said today that they are continuing their efforts to combat human trafficking in Ontario and their region. In a statement, police chief Eric Jolliffe said, "We continue to encourage victims of human trafficking to reach out to us for help. Our trained investigators work tirelessly to ensure that criminals who seek to victimize vulnerable members of our community are held accountable for their actions."