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People trafficking charges Thursday, 16 November 2017

People trafficking charges have been brought by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) against a Bangladeshi couple who are New Zealand citizens.

The defendants appeared today in the Auckland District Court and were remanded on bail until 11 December. The defendants and victims have all been granted interim name suppression.

They have been jointly charged under the Crimes Act 1961 for arranging by deception the entry of two Bangladeshi nationals into New Zealand. Trafficking in persons is punishable under the Crimes Act with imprisonment for up to 20 years, a fine of $500,000 or both.

An additional 28 charges have been laid against one of the defendants relating to the exploitation of five workers on temporary entry visas, the provision of false and misleading information to an immigration officer, aiding and abetting to breach visa conditions, and attempting to pervert the course of justice. 

The other defendant faces a further 11 charges relating to the exploitation of five workers on temporary entry visas, the provision of false and misleading information to an immigration officer and aiding and abetting to breach visa conditions.

The maximum penalty on the exploitation, false and misleading information and aiding and abetting charges is seven years’ imprisonment and / or a fine not exceeding $100,000.The maximum penalty for attempting to perverse the course of justice is seven years’ imprisonment.

As the matter is now before the courts INZ is unable to provide any further comment.

Notes to editors:

  • The first people trafficking charges in New Zealand were brought by INZ in August 2015. Two men were charged for arranging by deception the entry of Indian nationals into New Zealand. They were both found not guilty of the trafficking charges, but one was convicted on other charges. A third person was found guilty of other charges at the same trial but did not face the trafficking charges.
  • The first person to be convicted of people trafficking was sentenced in December 2016 to a total of nine years and six months in jail and ordered to pay a total of $28,167 reparation to his victims. Faroz Ali, also known as Feroz Ali, a Fijian national with New Zealand residence, was convicted of 15 human trafficking charges in a scam that enticed and exploited Fijians to work in New Zealand. He was also found guilty 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.

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