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Lawyer connected to human trafficker sentenced for migrant exploitation Tuesday, 25 September 2018

A lawyer has been sentenced for providing services that supported migrant exploitation by Faroz Ali, the first person convicted of human trafficking in New Zealand history.

Mohammed Idris Hanif, a lawyer based in Auckland, was sentenced on 21 September to 10 months home detention on five charges of providing false or misleading information to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) in respect of visitor visa applications. The visa applications were sought to enable three of the trafficked victims to remain in New Zealand and continue to work and be exploited by Ali*.

Hanif, acting as counsel for the three victims, completed and sent visitor visa applications to INZ knowing that they contained false or misleading information. Hanif completed applications stating that the reason the victims wanted to stay longer in New Zealand as visitors was to undertake recreational activities. The true reason they wanted to stay was to continue to work for Ali in the hope their lifetime opportunity would be realised.

The three human trafficking victims had answered advertisements Ali’s associates had placed in Fijian newspapers to work in New Zealand.

They were charged large sums of money for the opportunity to come to and work in New Zealand. When they arrived they were forced to work illegally for long hours gib fixing. The scam included Ali housing them in degrading cramped conditions and paying them little, if anything.

INZ Assistant General Manager Peter Devoy says that people trafficking, migrant exploitation and immigration fraud will not be tolerated. 

"New Zealand is committed to eliminating people trafficking.  This offending was part of a thorough Immigration New Zealand investigation that resulted in charges against several people.  We will pursue and prosecute any professionals who act as facilitators for the principal offenders. I hope the victims can take some comfort from the outcome," Mr. Devoy says.

"We encourage anyone currently being forced to work here illegally for less than the minimum wage and/or excessive hours to contact Immigration New Zealand or the Labour Inspectorate, where their concerns will be handled in a safe environment. People can also contact CrimeStoppers anonymously."

 

* Ali, a Fijian national with New Zealand residence, was sentenced in December 2016 to a total of nine years and six months imprisonment after being found guilty of 15 human trafficking charges and other immigration related offences.

NB All the victims, Fijian nationals, have now returned home


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