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First convicted people trafficker sentenced Thursday, 15 December 2016

The first person to be convicted of people trafficking in New Zealand has been sentenced at the High Court in Auckland to a total of nine years and six months in jail and ordered to pay a total of $28,167 reparation to his victims.

Immigration New Zealand Assistant General Manager Peter Devoy says the sentence is a great result and show just how seriously allegations of people trafficking and immigration fraud are taken. 

“Justice Heath commented that people trafficking is an abhorrent crime which degrades human dignity. This sentence is hugely significant and should act as a huge deterrent for people smugglers.”

Mr Devoy says it took almost 6,000 man hours to gather enough evidence to launch the prosecution which led to New Zealand’s first ever people trafficking convictions and this is truly a landmark moment.

“Some of the victims borrowed large sums of money to take up the opportunity to come here and now remain heavily indebted, while others used up their life savings to come to New Zealand. I hope today’s sentences give them some degree of comfort.”

Faroz Ali, also known as Feroz Ali, a Fijian national with New Zealand residence, was found guilty in September of 15 human trafficking charges involving Fijian nationals.  He was also convicted of 15 charges of aiding and abetting a person to unlawfully enter New Zealand and one charge of aiding and abetting a person to remain unlawfully in New Zealand. Ali had earlier pleaded guilty to 26 charges of helping people breach their visa conditions and exploiting them by not paying them the minimum wage and holiday pay.

The court heard that the Fijians were enticed to work in New Zealand after answering advertisements placed in Fijian newspapers by Ali’s Fiji-based wife and sister-in-law. They were charged large sums of money but when they arrived here they were forced to work illegally for long hours, live in cramped conditions and paid little, if anything.

The Fijians either worked for Ali’s gib fixing business in Auckland or were sent to Tauranga to work in the horticulture business in an arrangement organised by the defendant and his wife.

All the Fijian nationals have now returned home.

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