RCMP ordered to pay more than $700,000 to Laval family in ‘human trafficking’ case

Following years of litigation, Canada’s national police force, the RCMP, was ordered by an appeals court last week to pay more than $700,000 to a Laval family, who according to the judgment, were unfairly charged in 2006 with “human trafficking.”

The ruling also found the RCMP botched the investigation into their case and presented false information in order to cover mistakes.

Nichan Manoukian and his wife Manoudshag Saryboyajian, whose story was covered by the Laval News in early 2018, had originally been charged by the RCMP in a case involving one of the first applications of new federal anti-slavery and human trafficking legislation.

“Sunny,” the Manoukian/Saryboyajian family’s former domestic, is seen third from the left in this photo, with other family members, at their former home in Lebanon.

They had previously won judgements against the RCMP amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars, but the federal police force continued to contest the verdicts in appeals court. Although the accusations were judged to be baseless and were dropped within six months, the ordeal had important repercussions on the health and reputation of the entire family.

Following their arrest, Manoukian and Saryboyajian were taken to the RCMP’s Quebec headquarters in Montreal where they were fingerprinted and photographed. The family, which includes the two parents as well as four children, decided to launch a civil lawsuit against the RCMP, as well as against the crown prosecutor, police and other officials who were involved.

The case centered around “Sunny,” a domestic worker of Ethiopian origin who had been working for Saryboyajian and Manoukian in Lebanon since 1998. She was being paid a monthly salary by the family at that time. When the family decided to immigrate to Canada in 2004, their domestic employee, who had been hired through an employment agency in Lebanon, followed them to Canada.

Possibly in a hurry to publicize the RCMP’s first prosecuted case involving what was then a new federal anti-human trafficking law, it would appear the force proceeded without first checking all the circumstances.

According to an earlier judgment rendered by Quebec Superior Court, statements made by the RCMP during a high-profile press conference announcing the charges weren’t consistent with reality and left out important information.

Give plasma for Samy!

The Laval Police Department is inviting all Laval residents and others from around the Montreal region to take part in an important plasma donation drive that will be taking place from November November 9 to December 5 at the Centre Globule on Le Corbusier Blvd. at the Centre Laval mall.

Initiated by colleagues of LPD sergeant-detective Aziz El-Fara, the purpose of the drive is to come to the help of El-Fara’s son, Samy, who is not quite 17 months old, and is the only child in Quebec suffering from a condition known as Roifman Syndrome. This rare congenital disorder is characterized by immune deficiency, abnormal growth and formation of bones and joints, vision problems and cognitive delay.

“Samy has to undergo a transfusion of immunoglobulin each week,” says sergeant-detective Sara-Imane Chemloul, a member of the committee that organized the drive. “His life depends on it.

Taking an hour to make a donation of blood or plasma can make all the difference for Samy or anyone else who needs plasma or blood products. We are hoping to bring out the most donors possible, because even during a pandemic the needs are important in order to ensure an adequate supply for hospitals all over Quebec. Every donation counts. On behalf of Samy, we say thanks.”

To become a donor, a reservation must be made at jedonne.hema-quebec.qc.ca (for plasma donations only), or by telephone by calling 1 888 666-4362. Donors wishing to make a blood donation are also welcome. A plasma donation can be made every six days, while a blood donation can only be made every 28 days by men and 56 days by women.