A woman who advertised another woman’s sexual services online is put on probation

A 24-year-old woman who offered another woman’s sexual services to clients in Niagara Falls says her hope for the future is to work with teens and young adults.

Jocelyn Sarmiento appeared in the Ontario Court of Justice in St. Catharines and pleaded guilty to receiving a material benefit from another person.

On Tuesday, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, the Toronto woman was given a suspended sentence and probation for two years.

The proposed sentence was a joint submission by the Crown and the defence.

Judge Donald Wolfe accepted the joint submission, but noted that “clearly the proposed sentence is very low of what might be considered appropriate for this type of offence.”

He added that the Crown might have struggled to prove the offense if the case had gone to trial.

“…proving psychological control over the plaintiff may have been a difficult thing to establish in court,” he said.

The court was told Niagara Regional Police launched an investigation in March 2020 after finding an online listing of sexual services featuring the complainant’s photograph.

The police initially believed that the woman was under 18 and were able to come into contact with the young woman.

The 21-year-old initially told police she was working with Sarmiento of her own free will, but later admitted she no longer wanted to sell her body.

“She started crying and shaking and said she was scared and didn’t want to be sent back to Mexico,” Assistant Crown Attorney Todd Morris said.

“She told the police that she felt exploited by the defendant because she spoke very little English and did not understand Canadian laws.”

The court heard that the victim came to Canada from Mexico in 2019 and met the defendant on social media while looking for accommodation.

Sarmiento took photos of the victim to solicit clients, posted online advertisements, and allegedly received money from the victim after performing sexual services with men at a hotel in Niagara Falls.

Defense lawyer Sharon Jeethan told the court that her client, who had never been in trouble with the law, had no plans to return to the sex trade and hoped to pursue a career in labor social.

“She wants to work with teenagers and young adults who find themselves in trouble.”

She told the judge that the young woman was and continues to be under “great financial stress” as she is solely responsible for supporting her family members in Mexico.

“She has been under extraordinary financial stress for someone so young,” the lawyer said.

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