A Saskatoon woman facing human trafficking offences has been released on bail with plans to “vehemently” fight the allegations against her, according to her lawyer.
Speaking outside court following Monday’s bail hearing, defence lawyer Kevin Hill said Dilshad Ali Zada, 23, plans to plead not guilty to the 10 charges she faces.
“She disputes any guilt associated with this – disputes the allegations vehemently,” Hill said.
On Monday, a judge granted Zada $3,000 cash bail. All contents of the bail hearing are around a routine and mandatory publication ban.
She is charged with trafficking persons, uttering threats and theft over $5,000.
The Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) vice unit began investigating in March, after receiving information that a woman was trafficking three other women for sexual exploitation in cities in Saskatchewan and Alberta, according to a police news release.
Police said Zada stole money and personal belongings to maintain control over two 20-year-old women from Quebec and one 18-year-old from Moose Jaw. Officers describe all three as victims, stating more could be out there.
According to the SPS, the victims were recruited through personal introductions and via social media.
Hill characterizes much of what has been told to officers through the investigation as untrue.
“It’s easy to say things to police, but once it gets tested by way of cross-examination, it’s very difficult to maintain untruths,” Hill said.
Zada’s lawyer said the 23-year-old has family in Quebec and lived there for “10 or 12 years,” but her permanent home has been Saskatoon for the past three years. She lives with a boyfriend, he said.
Under the conditions of her release, Zada cannot be involved in the sex trade or escort industry. She must continue living at her Saskatoon address with a curfew.
She had surrendered her passport and must follow weapon, alcohol and drug prohibitions.
Zada’s next court appearance is scheduled for June 27.