Image copyright Toronto Police Image caption It is alleged the case involved a group of people engaged in human trafficking
A 35-year-old man has been charged in Toronto with human trafficking and dozens of other offences, police say.
Two female victims were rescued after they were allegedly lured to Canada from Iraq, Afghanistan and Senegal with the promise of good jobs, reports the Toronto Star.
Police say the traffickers used violence, threats and intimidation to make them work.
The four women were brought over from Canada in 2011, after a previous visit to the country, and have been in foster care since.
Police say human trafficking was especially prevalent in the city’s Afghan community, where refugee claims from the country are examined by both the government and the Toronto police.
‘We were all given identical rags’
One of the victims said she was brought to Canada from Afghanistan, and given a passport.
“She was kept as a domestic slave for six years, forced to work around the clock for no pay,” Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash told CBC News.
“She worked 16-hour days, seven days a week, without a single day off, resulting in extensive physical and mental abuse.”
The 35-year-old is accused of beating the victim with a broomstick after she tried to leave him, police said.
Another victim described how she was abused by her employers, said Ms Pugash.
“They essentially keep them for 10, 12 years, and force them to live in physically and emotionally abusive conditions.
“They have virtually no contact with family members, and were essentially locked away.”
Another woman was allegedly robbed by the male victims of drugs and money they were owed.
All of the women said they had been passed between different homes and employers, one of whom was believed to be the mother of the alleged ringleader.
Ms Pugash said: “They were all given identical rags to wear, with their pictures on.
“They were segregated into small dormitories in [one of the homes].
“If one of them tried to escape the other two would beat her and scare her into staying inside.”