A Superior Court judge on Wednesday denounced those who profit from others in the sex trade as he sentenced two Caledonia men convicted of trafficking a young Brantford woman.
Justice Robert Nightingale sentenced Dragisa Lucic, 31, to a global sentence of seven years, while Joshua Hillock, 32, got a prison sentence of four years. Each man saw his sentence reduced for various credits.
The judge said they were part of a “criminal organization” exploiting the woman, then 18, in late 2019 and early 2020,
The men, along with three others, rented a home in Caledonia. They took their victim to hotels around southern Ontario, advertising her services, supplying her with drugs and food, disguising her by dying her hair and collecting all the proceeds of her sex work.
The woman was told when she could sleep and eat and sometimes denied food or the drugs she relied upon. In texts, the group referred to their responsibilities in dealing with the woman as caring for “the dog.”
A third member of the group, Daniel Campbell, 37, will be sentenced in January. The Crown is asking for a 12-year sentence.
Two Caledonia women also faced charges in the case. Crystal-Anne Marier, 37, was found not guilty, while Carly Creor, is being tried separately. A date has yet to be set for her trial.
Marier testified earlier this year that she had a serious drug addiction at the time of the offences and only part of the group because Campbell was her drug dealer and lover.
Lucic and Hillock were each found guilty of human trafficking, procuring and receiving money from human trafficking and from sexual services. Lucic was also guilty of advertising for sexual services.
“They were part of a criminal organization so they could exploit the victim in the sex trade,” said Nightingale.
While the Crown and defence agreed the range of sentences for such crimes is from four to eight years, the Crown asked the judge to consider sentences of five years for Hillock and 10 years for Lucic.
Nightingale said Lucic exercised “significant control” over the woman for 3 1/2 months, exacerbating her drug addiction.
“His moral blameworthiness is very serious,” said the judge, adding that Lucic neither offered an apology to the victim nor accepted responsibility by pleading guilty.
But Nightingale noted that Lucic, with the support of his family, has a prospect of rehabilitation.
Nightingale sentenced Lucic to seven years but gave him credit for time already spent in jail and a stringent bail period, similar to house arrest, for two years. That leaves him five years and five months to serve.