A B.C. man convicted of trafficking underage girls in the sex trade, including one from Maple Ridge, has been handed a jail sentence of 23 years.
Reza Moazami’s sentence was three years longer than the prison term Crown had been seeking, and was handed down by Justice Catherine Bruce Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver.
The 30-year-old was convicted a year ago on 30 charges, including living off the avails of prostitution, sexual assault and sexual interference. His crimes involved 11 teens, some as young as 14, and he used physical and verbal abuse to force the girls into working as prostitutes. He also drugged and raped them.
A young girl from Maple Ridge was among his victims, and Diane Sowden, the executive director of the Children of the Street Society, said no community is safe from this kind of exploitation.
“It happens in every single community, especially now with technology,” said Sowden, who works for a non-profit society which works to prevent the sexual exploitation of children in B.C.
She said cases of sexual exploitation rarely go to trial, because fearful victims are often unwilling to give a statement. In the Moazami case, more victims came forward after he breached house arrest, and was taken into custody.
He was the first to be convicted of human trafficking in B.C.
Moazami will be given five years credit for time served awaiting trail, leaving just under 18 year remaining on his sentence.
– With files from CTVBC