Judge decides against mandatory minimum for human trafficking sentence
Two Kitchener men who pleaded guilty in connection with a human trafficking ring in Windsor and London were not given the mandatory minimum sentence after appealing to the court that it would be ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment.
Minas Abara and Nicholas Kulafofski, both 20 years old, will be going to prison.
Abara will be behind bars for three years while Kulafofski will serve less than 30 months.
The Crown had been seeking eight years with the mandatory minimum set at four years.
But the lawyers for both men argued that under the Charter of Rights, it would be deemed ‘cruel and unusual punishment.’
Justice Kevin McHugh said even though, “The right-thinking Canadian would not be outraged by the sentence,” of four years, he agreed it was excessive.
Another man who was more involved in the human trafficking incident previously received the mandatory minimum.
Chris Uwagboe, the lawyer for Abara, says “It is a serious charge but our position in this is given these facts in this case the mandatory minimum is just far too much custody, and the court supported that finding.”
The lawyer for Kulafofski, Frances Brennan, adds, “Both of the accused were just barely adults themselves and one of the most important things is that youthful offenders typically deserve mitigation under the criminal code.”
In the summer of 2017, both men were selling the sexual services of two teenagers at hotels and motels in Windsor and London. Both men pleaded guilty in the case.
The female victims, who cannot be identified, were only 14 and 17 years of age at the time of the offences.
Justice McHugh also read to the court from the victim impact statement of one of the girl’s fathers.
The judge read, "I always thought as a father I would be able to protect our daughter. Our hearts are broken. My days are consumed with guilt and worry."