Sex trade victim turns focus on helping others

Fighting for rights

It has been an arduous journey for Timea Nagy.

About a decade ago, the 32-year-old Hungary native answered a newspaper advertisement.

“I was supposed to be a babysitter or a housekeeper,” she said. “When I got (to Canada), the job was actually working in a strip joint.”

She was kidnapped, controlled, kept under horrible conditions and forced to work in the sex trade in the Greater Toronto Area, including at Richmond Hill’s once notorious Fantasia club, she said in an interview, following a Crime Stoppers press conference in Markham Tuesday.

After turning her back on the GTA’s seedy sex industry, she testified in the unsuccessful prosecution of those accused of her ordeal.

Ms Nagy is now the executive director of Walk With Me, an organization working with victims of human trafficking.

Sharing her story publicly has not been easy, she said.

About a year ago, she read a story in a Toronto newspaper about a Russian woman who had escaped from sex slavery in North York.

“I read my story,” she said. “She described the area where she was kept and I had fancy dinners in that area just the year before. I personally felt so guilty that I was sitting there having the time of my life while somebody else was going through the same thing that I had been through 10 years ago. I thought this wasn’t happening any more.”

She said she contacted several police services and offered to help.

They asked her what she could offer, she said.

“It was pretty clear that I can’t hide my past,” she said. “It was a process. It was a painfully long process. I think it was my healing process because I never really talked about it.”

Being a human trafficking victim is very complex, she said. It is much like being a kidnapping victim, a domestic violence victim and a child molestation victim, simultaneously.

“Most of the victims don’t realize they are victims,” Ms Nagy said. “They don’t want to deal with it. They just think it’s normal. The brain and mind are such a beautiful thing. You go into survivor mode.”

This month is international Crime Stoppers month and York Crime Stoppers is turning its attention to human trafficking and how the community can help.

Human trafficking victims are often used as sex trade workers, forced labour, or even for black market human organs, said Dave Forster, past York Crime Stoppers chairperson. .

Human trafficking is a $5 to 9 billion a year industry, he added.

York Regional Police Chief Armand La Barge took aim at the so-called Johns who help exploit sex trade workers.

“They are victimizing these people. Whether they recognize it or not, that is the sad reality,” he said.

York police last October arrested a 24-year-old man for human trafficking and several other offences including kidnapping, after a 19-year-old woman escaped from a man that police were told persuaded her into a life of exotic dancing.

The teenager was forced to live according to strict rules and was only allowed to leave the apartment to work, police said.

A Mississauga man is still before the Newmarket courts in the case. He is scheduled to appear again Jan. 26.

The charges have not been proven.

Anyone that recruits, transports, conceals or exercises control, direction or influence over the movement of a person for the purpose of exploiting them or assisting in their exploitation faces a lifetime prison term if they kidnap a person during the commission of the crime, the Criminal Code of Canada states.

York vice continues investigating human trafficking leads Canadawide, Chief La Barge said.

“We have a very active group here in Canada coming out of the east coast that is very involved in prostitution-related offences and we had a couple of investigations, as have other GTA services, involving this group,” Chief La Barge said.

The group, known as North Preston’s Finest brings young girls to the GTA to work as exotic dancers or prostitutes.

If you have any information about human trafficking activities or any other criminal activity in York Region, you can anonymously contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS, log onto or text TIPYORK and your message to CRIMES (274637)



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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Good points, I think I will definitely subscribe!🙂. I’ll go and read some more!

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