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Sentence in people trafficking case Thursday, 2 February 2017

A second defendant in a people trafficking case has been sentenced at the High Court in Tauranga.

In December last year Faroz Ali, also known as Feroz Ali, a Fijian national with New Zealand residence, was sentenced to a total of nine years and six months in jail after being found guilty of 15 human trafficking charges involving Fijian nationals.  He was the first person to be convicted of people trafficking in New Zealand.

A second defendant, Tauranga based fruit farm labour contractor Jafar Kurisi, also known as Md Wagid Ali, was sentenced today on four representative charges relating to 13 workers who were not entitled to work, including four Fijian nationals who were Ali’s victims. They were not paid the minimum wage or holiday pay and were provided with accommodation and food that were of a very poor standard. He was sentenced to 12 months home detention and required to pay reparation of $55,000 by the end of March 2017.

The court earlier 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 between Ali and Kurisi.

Immigration New Zealand Assistant General Manager Peter Devoy says today’s sentence shows just how seriously allegations of people trafficking, exploitation and immigration fraud are taken by the courts.  

“When Faroz Ali was sentenced last year Justice Heath commented that people trafficking is an abhorrent crime which degrades human dignity and thanked us for carrying out the investigation and bringing the matter to trial,” Mr Devoy says. “Today’s sentence closes a chapter on what has been an appalling case and I hope the victims can take some comfort from the outcome.”


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