46-yr-old man charged with smuggling people into NZ appears in court
In a potential landmark case, the trial of a Fijian man charged with smuggling people into New Zealand and subjecting them to exploitative working conditions is under way and is expected to go on for several more weeks.
According to the New Zealand Herald, Faroz Ali today admitted helping workers breach their visa conditions and exploiting them, but denied the more serious charges of human trafficking.
Ali, also allegedly took large sums of money from 16 Fijian workers in exchange for the promise of jobs and then facilitated their unlawful entry into the country.
The court heard that some of the alleged offending took place in the Bay of Plenty.
The 46-year-old stood in the dock at the High Court at Auckland yesterday as 15 human trafficking charges under the Crimes Act, and dozens of other charges laid under the Immigration Act, were read out against him.
He pleaded guilty to 26 charges of aiding a person to breach their visa and exploiting an unlawful employee by failing to provide holiday pay and minimum wage.
The court heard that Ali had pleaded not guilty to further 15 charges of trafficking in people by means of deception and 16 counts of aiding and abetting a person to unlawfully enter New Zealand, or to stay in the country illegally.
Meanwhile, the maximum penalty for people trafficking is 20 years’ imprisonment and a $500,000 fine.
Source : Newswire.com August 23, 2016