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Councillor calls for city hall to be more proactive in preventing abuse of immigrant children

TORONTO, Ont. – There has been call at city hall to be more proactive to prevent abuse suffered by immigrant children.

This comes a few weeks after the father and stepmother of Melonie Biddersingh were charged with her murder.

17-year-old Melonie was killed and stuffed into a suitcase, which was then lit on fire, in 1994.

Councillor Michael Thompson said he is bringing forward the motion because he feels her case is one that happens far too often.

“Sadly this problem is not new. It has, in fact, plagued Canada for centuries,” he explained.

Thompson said he wants to the city work more closer with agencies like the Children’s Aid Society and Immigration Canada to ensure those kids do not fall through the cracks.

The idea of a registry of immigrant children is being considered but many legal, civil and human rights issues come in to play.  

“We’re going to work through the process. No one is defining where we are on this. It’s the start of a journey. Part of a process to help and protect children and to prevent the murder of any child,” explained Thompson.

David Rivard of the Children’s Aid Society told 680News they are exploring all options.

“Certainly when you begin to identify young people, as you know in the media, there are certain requirements involved with that,” said Rivard. “We’d be open to looking at any kind of mechanism that’s going to keep children safe.”

Melonie came to Toronto from Jamaica with her two brothers, Dwayne and Cleon, to live with her biological father and stepmother.

Melonie’s mother, who lives in Jamaica, said she had not seen her daughter in years. She said her ex-husband had told her their daughter was happy and working in the United States.

Police say they reopened her cold case after receiving a phone call in November 2011 which helped them identify the remains as Melonie.