Severe mood swings, lack of self-confidence and self-worth, living in poverty and feeling traumatized whenever she approaches hotels — this is the day-to-day reality for a woman who was a victim of human trafficking.
Her victim impact statement was made available to media on Thursday morning at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Guelph after Marcus Sinclair, a 31-year-old from Toronto, was sentenced to 30 months in a federal prison for pimping the woman for a seven-year period.
Due to a publication ban, the victim cannot be identified and she was not present in court for the sentencing.
“I will never be the same again,” she wrote in her statement.
Sinclair made me feel like the only value I had was in selling myself to others, she wrote. “Now when I look in the mirror I don’t even think I look good enough to even do that”
Sinclair met the victim in 2007 when she was 19 years old, the court heard at a hearing last month. She was homeless and penniless and he took her in. She had already been involved in prostitution since she was 14, the court heard.
For the next seven years, Sinclair was involved in setting up dates for her, posting ads for her on websites and collecting money from her after she provided sexual services for clients. The court heard he would occasionally hide in the closet while she was with clients.
“I still cry over this situation even though it’s been many years, because of the way he would mentally abuse me and make (it) seem like this was all my fault,” the victim wrote.
“This whole situation left me with A LOT of hostility,” she wrote. I can’t be in a relationship now “because no one understands.”
She said even though Sinclair was convicted, she doesn’t think she’ll ever have “proper closure” to this situation.
Assistant to the Crown Attorney Steve Hamilton recommended a prison sentence of three to four years while defence attorney Hubert Gonzalez recommended a term of 18 months.
Justice Nancy Mossip took the middle road between these recommendations, deciding on a prison term of 30 months.
She said she considered Sinclair’s strict bail conditions in making her decision. For the past two years he was not allowed to be outside of his home except in the presence of his surety, who also happens to be his fiancée.
She said she agreed with jury that Sinclair exploited the victim, but also recognized that Sinclair has made real efforts at rehabilitation.
“I have no doubt that Mr. Sinclair regrets his conduct because of its impact on his life, and the man he wants to be,” Mossip read in her decision. But at the same time, “he takes no responsibility for the harm caused to (the victim) by his actions.”
Outside of the 30-month prison sentence, Sinclair was also sentenced to pay a $500 fine for stealing three cellphones and a tablet that belonged to the victim. He was also given a 10-year weapons prohibition, ordered to provide a sample of his DNA, and ordered to be listed as a registered sex offender for 20 years.
He was also prohibited from communicating directly or indirectly with the victim.