Lawyers allege 'sexist,' 'aggressive' behaviour by powerful immigration, refugee judges

January 29, 2018
Article Source
Global News

In court documents she is referred to as "the claimant." A young Ukrainian woman who came to Canada in 2005 when she was just 18 years old with the hope of working as a caregiver.

But soon after arriving in Toronto, those who brought her here stole her passport and forced her into the sex trade. She was alone in Canada, she didn't know anyone, and her pimp said the police would never help her.

"For three months, [the pimp] threatened to kill her and her family in Ukraine if she left," reads a 2010 immigration decision.

She was forced to have sex with "upwards of eight men a day," contracted a sexually transmitted infection, became pregnant and was made to have an abortion, according to her lawyer.

But after 18 months, she escaped. She then sought the assistance of lawyer Asiya Hirji, who helped her apply for refugee protection.

The woman's claim was heard by Michael Sterlin, a judge-like decision-maker from Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) who as a political appointee, was given authority to decide cases like hers.

Hirji alleges Sterlin asked to see nude photos of the woman to prove her identity. She says he asked her to reveal where she received the abortion and why she didn't go to the police.

Sterlin denied her claim. He said she was not credible.


Hirji alleges the woman was so traumatized by these events that she tried to kill herself.

Read more: Lawyers allege 'sexist,' 'aggressive' behaviour by powerful immigration, refugee judges