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Two men in pimping and human trafficking case get lengthy jail terms

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Tamim Albashir and Kasra Mohsenipour received lengthy jail terms for exploiting three young women, one of whom was only 15 years old a the time they recruited her.

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Tamim Albashir and Kasra Mohsenipour were convicted on multiple charges. Jason Payne / PNG

Two men convicted of multiple pimping and human trafficking offences against three young women have received lengthy prison terms.

On Friday, B.C. Supreme Court Justice David Masuhara sentenced Tamim Albashir, 27, the leader of the enterprise to lure the victims into a life of prostitution, to 10 years in jail, reduced to five years and nine months after giving him credit for pre-sentence custody.

Kasra Mohsenipour, 25, received a nine-year jail term, reduced to five years and five months after credit for pre-sentence custody.

Albashir had been convicted in January 2018 of 16 pimp-related offences that occurred between May 2013 and April 2016, while Mohsenipour was found guilty of 13 offences during that time period.

The accused were also convicted of attempting to obstruct justice after offering a bribe to one of the victims to recant her statement and to having her phone changed so that she could not be contacted by the authorities.

The trial heard that the two men conspired to establish a pimping enterprise for their own personal gain, to make money.

They recruited one girl who was 15 years old at the time and two other young women to work as prostitutes, exercising control and direction over them, and exploiting them with the intent of using money earned by them to finance their own lifestyle.

That lifestyle included designer clothes, regular gym workouts, rental of luxury downtown condos, expensive cars and delivered meals.

The men arranged for photos to be taken of the victims for website ads and made the ads for websites for escort services.

They collected money earned by the victims for providing sex, drove them to “outcalls,” and took two of them to Edmonton where they worked providing sex.

And they used threats of violence and actual violence, with Albashir at one point holding a gun to the head of one of the victims and telling her that she belonged to him.

In imposing sentence on the two men, the judge called the offences “very serious” and noted that there was evidence that in addition to the three victims, they had profited from the services of other women.

The accused, who have been in custody since 2016, had little reaction to the sentence as they sat in the prisoner’s dock.

The Crown had sought a sentence of 16 years for Albashir and 14 years for Mohsenipour, while the defence argued that a more appropriate sentence for Albashir was six years and five years for his co-accused.

Omar Alameddin, a third man charged in the case, was recently arrested in California and is being sought for extradition back to Canada.

Sophia Hladik, a spokesperson for Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter, said in an email statement that she had been monitoring the trial.

“It is important to hold men who abuse and profit off women’s vulnerability accountable,” she said, adding that she hopes the case is a sign of diligence on behalf of the authorities and not a “one-off” result.

“We applaud the victims for their brave testimonies that delivered crucial evidence to these men’s crimes.”

kfraser@postmedia.com

twitter.com/keithrfraser

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