OTTAWA, October 20, 2005 ( - US newspapers and investigative journalists have been frustrated in their attempts to receive comment from Canadian government officials regarding the death of two American young men brought into Canada under the controversial ‘exotic dancer’ program. Weeks prior to their deaths this summer, European anti-trafficking groups and the US body which compiles international data on trafficking in persons criticized Canada for the controversial scheme which, according to anti-trafficking groups is fraught with abuse and often leads to involuntary prostitution. US officials called the program Canada’s “only black spot” regarding trafficking in persons.

The bodies of Mark Kraynak, 23, of Uniontown PA, and Steven Wright, 20, of Guerneville, CA were found September 1st after being missing for over ten days. Laval police, who obtained security camera footage of the two men running from a vehicle prior to their deaths suggested that they were attempting to evade paying cab fare and thus accidentally plunged to their deaths while running away in the dark.Â

The suggestion of illegal activity on the part of the deceased young Americans has infuriated the mother of Kraynak. The Irish Anti-Trafficking Coalition (IATC) has also thought it odd that the police would accuse the dead men of a crime without evidence – Laval police have not been able to identify or speak to a cab driver to corroborate their speculation.Â

Several American and Canadian journalists and anti-trafficking groups have phoned and emailed inquiries to Canadian government officials on the subject but have not received responses.Â

To get some answers, Gregory Carlin, director of the IATC, has written US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who will be paying an official visit to Canada Monday.“I would be grateful if you could ask Canadian officials to explain why les policiers de Laval have chosen to denigrate the characters of the two dead men with allegations of fare evasion,” wrote Carlin. “The petty crime speculation does not seem to be evidence based and it has caused particular distress to the family of Mr. Mark Kraynak.”

See related coverage:
  Canadian Government Ignored Warnings Leading to Deaths of Two Young Americans