NEWS

Filipina nanny human trafficking claims disputed

06/06/2013 07:24 EDT | Updated 08/06/2013 05:12 EDT
The defence lawyer for a couple facing human trafficking charges related to their nanny is picking apart her story, saying she didn't face the sort of oppressive servitude that she claims.

Franco Orr and his wife Nicole Huen are on trial for human trafficking charges arising from allegations they brought Leticia Sarmiento to Canada illegally and forced her to work in domestic servitude for several years.

The couple had brought their live-in nanny, Leticia Sarmiento, with them when they moved to Canada from Hong Kong in 2008, and Sarmiento cared for the family's three children until she called the police in June 2010.

On Wednesday, Sarmiento testified working conditions were much better when she worked for the couple in Hong Kong — she had two cellular phones, didn’t have to cover her own expenses and often took the children on outings alone.

Sarmiento claims things changed when she came to Canada, saying she was forced to work long hours with no days off, forbidden from leaving the family's Vancouver-area homes.

She also testified she was only allowed one phone call to her family in the Philippines each month, and had her passport taken from her by the family.

- Read more from the first week of the trial

But Thursday defence lawyer Nicholas Preovolos presented phone records that indicate someone at the house called the same number in the Philippines more than 90 times in the nearly two years Sarmiento lived with the family in Canada.

He also suggested Sarmiento had access to her passport, and he has previously said a keypad Sarmiento claimed kept the doors locked was merely for a home alarm that wasn't even turned on.

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