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Defendants jailed for exploiting migrants Friday, 10 May 2019

A Bangladeshi couple who are New Zealand citizens have been jailed after being found guilty of multiple charges of migrant exploitation.

Mohammed Atiqul Islam is facing four years and five months imprisonment and Nafisa Ahmed is facing two years and six months.

Islam was found guilty of 10 charges of exploitation and six other immigration related offences. Islam was also found guilty of three charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice. Ahmed was jointly found guilty of eight exploitation charges. The charges relate to the couple’s previous ownership of an Auckland sweet shop where they exploited five victims over a two year period.

The sentencing Judge, Judge Gibson said the defendants were guilty of a deliberate and systematic exploitation of their workers.

Judge Gibson told the defendants, “The Jury rightly found you guilty. In some ways you were shamelessly so. You paid your employees $6 per hour, encouraged workers to breach their visas, confiscated the passports of the chefs immediately after their arrival in New Zealand. In the end, the workers resorted to the New Zealand Police to get their passports back. I have no doubt the passports were taken and withheld for the purpose of controlling your employees.”

Immigration New Zealand Assistant General Manager Pete Devoy said “I am pleased with this outcome, this is a clear signal from the Court that exploitation is viewed as a serious offence, and it is criminal offending we don’t want in New Zealand society.

“This type of offending erodes the dignity of the victims. I’m pleased for them that they have been listened to and believed by the jury. I thank them for their strength of character in bringing these matters to our attention and following them through to trial. It’s an ordeal they should not have had to face.”

The maximum sentence was seven years imprisonment for both exploitation and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

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