Accused human trafficker continues to deny holding sex slave hostage
Undated image of Jessica Vinje, the Calgary woman accused of human trafficking and forcible confinement
The Calgary woman accused of confining a woman to a small, windowless room of her downtown apartment and forcing her to have sex with multiple men for money continues to deny the allegations.
Jessica Vinje, 30, was under cross examination Wednesday at her trial for charges including human trafficking, forcible confinement and assault.
"I’m going to suggest you had beaten her and confined her in your den and forced her to perform sex acts with your friends and strangers," questioned Crown Prosecutor Donna Spaner.
Vinje replied, "No."
Vinje said she met the complainant KM through a mutual friend in December 2017, when the friend asked if KM could catch a ride with Vinje to her house, where they smoked meth.
The accused testified that same day, KM asked her if she could use her place for a day to meet potential escort clients, because she needed to make some money.
"You didn’t even have a discussion about what that business entails?" asked Spaner.
According to Vinje, her apartment was often used a flop house so she didn’t think much about the request.
Vinje said she punched KM on one occasion when she said a teen who was at the house said KM propositioned him to exchange a sexual favour in exchange for drugs.
Spaner asked why Vinje didn’t keep her word when she asked KM to leave. "People get in stupid fights all the time when you’re using drugs," answered Vinje.
Vinje admitted during that time, her memory was impaired and days just blended together because she was always high on heroin.
The crown asked Vinje if she had sent a message to a man she knew asking, "Would you be down to buy a hooker?", trying to sell KM for $500. Vinje denied the accusation.
The court was shown security video from a liquor store taken on December 13, 2017, where KM is seen crossing the street, barefoot in a tank top and hiding behind the counter until police arrive.
The crown suggested if KM was free to come and go from the apartment as Vinje had described, she would have been wearing shoes.
Vinje was living in a subsidized apartment. She said she committed credit card fraud on a daily basis to pay for things such as food and taxis.
Court heard Vinje has 64 convictions on her criminal record which date back to 2006. She is currently serving a sentence for convictions including fraud.
Vinje was the only witness called by defence lawyer Rebecca Snukal.
Final arguments in the case are scheduled for Friday.