5. On 14 July, 2015, [Mali] and I had visited [a shopping centre] to buy makeup for a friend of hers to whom she was to give it for her birthday. She did not say anything more about it that I remember, and I do not remember asking for any more details. [...]

7. [On the day of her arrest and detention at around 11.00 am], she called me to tell me that the police had arrested her for [removal from Canada], but did not want me to come to meet her since she thought this should not be a big problem. After trying to call her a few times to convince her that I should go there but to no avail, I could no longer reach her.

8. I had called the [local police service] and even went to the [local police service’s] headquarters to see if I could get any information on her situation. I later called Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Canada Border Services Agency, and possibly other related organizations, and they knew nothing of her either. I do not remember if I’d tried to call the [local detention centre] at that time, but if I did, it too had no record of her. I had eventually called 911 to confirm that it was indeed the police who had arrested her, and the 911 operator had no such information and directed me back to [the local police service]. An operator at [the local police service] advised that I speak to a lawyer, and so I found one for her.

9. [Mali]’s first lawyer had informed me that she would probably not be able to confirm anything until [Mali] is processed at the [local detention centre]. I personally went to the Centre to see if I could get any information, but even then it knew nothing. I eventually saw a police truck arrive, waited a few minutes, and then called again, at which time an operator informed me that some people had arrived and that I should call again in a few hours. I did so and was finally able to confirm that she was there.

10. I did try to contact [Mali] during her time in detention, but it seemed that one rule or another always prevented me from seeing her. As I tried to guess what the problem might be and thinking back at what might have led to this, I remembered overhearing her in a phone conversation mentioning a friend of a friend who she believed was in [the city] and who she suspected of suffering gambling addiction, which gave me only a glimpse of an idea of what might have happened.

11. Her first lawyer eventually informed me of the charges against [Mali] and [Mali]’s claim of innocence of the charges. I was shocked and, thinking back on the conversation part of which I had overheard and believing that she might have had gone to see that person for her birthday at her home, I felt angry that she had done so and wondered why, if she absolutely had to see her, she did not meet her elsewhere. Thinking back on it later, I now understand that, whatever vague suspicion she might have had, [Mali] might not have known what her friend was doing either.

12. After I was authorized to pay [Mali]’s bond, the CBSA officer to whom I was to pay the bond advised me that the CBSA had irrefutable evidence of the act for which it had charged her. […] I decided to follow my heart instead of believing the CBSA and paid her bond. I went to the [local detention centre] to meet her, after which I slowly learnt of what had happened.

13. She mentioned that after the police had arrived, she had gone into her acquaintance’s room to obtain a tablet which was a Christmas gift from me and was on a high shelf in a closet in that room and that the police had therefore charged her with working as a sex worker without proper authorization by simple association with another person who was in that same room when she had entered it.

14. [Mali] was released on 20 July, 2015. On 21 July, she wanted to return to the location to retrieve her tablet. Due to the fact that the officer to whom I had paid bond had told me that if the police should see her there again the CBSA would deport her, in spite of the fact that I was aware of no law prohibiting a person from simply being in a bawdy house, I had decided to accompany her there anyway so that I could stand as her witness. The outside of the house gave me the impression of being a normal house. Inside, some red lights had caught my attention. Though I suspected that it was a bawdy house due to the incident between [Mali] and the police, I must admit that had it not been for that, though I still would have found such a choice of lighting to be strange, I can’t guarantee that I would have been able to guess that it was a bawdy house from that alone: likewise for the strange choice of furniture and decorations. I waited at the entrance while [Mali] went upstairs accompanied by another woman to retrieve her tablet and then we left shortly thereafter.

15. [Mali] eventually received a package from the CBSA in the mail. Since it was in English, she had given it to me to read. Though I was shocked by the differences between [Mali]’s testimony to me and what I was reading in the document, I was even more shocked at the lack of evidence, the apparent lack of effort to even offer to collect applicable evidence, the seemingly irrelevant questions and answers that Ms. [F. Bélanger] had recorded, the fact that [Ms. Bélanger] had my phone number yet apparently never even tried to call me, the fact that I know some of the recorded answers to have been false, and the apparent presumption of guilt on Ms. [Bélanger]’s part without any apparent effort to obtain proof to corroborate the officers’ statements.

16. I could not help but marvel at the apparent lack of effort of the officers in the evidence-collection and corroboration processes and their disregard for the principle of the presumption of innocence to the point of making me question whether any kind of prejudice based on national or ethnic origin might have played a role in the police and CBSA decision-making processes.


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