Woman in Fiji accused of trafficking people to NZ


A 31-year-old woman involved in a human trafficking case in New Zealand has been charged in Fiji with 17 counts of the same crime.

Her sister, who is in Australia, has been charged in absentia with five counts of obtaining property by deception and one count of money laundering.

It’s alleged that the women organised and facilitated travel and work arrangements for a number of Fijians to go to NZ where they were subsequently heavily exploited.

A Fiji Police spokesperson says the sisters operated a travel agency in Suva and allegedly placed a newspaper ad about employment opportunities in New Zealand.

Victims were promised visa or work permits and had money taken from them to supposedly pay for their visa applications.

Fiji Police says they suffered forced labour, unfavourable weather and living conditions and minimal or no wages.

The arrest of the women is linked to the Faroz Ali case which took place in 2016.

A thorough joint investigation involving both Immigration New Zealand (INZ) and Fijian authorities resulted in New Zealand’s first successful prosecution for human trafficking.

Ali was found guilty of 15 human trafficking charges and other immigration offences.

He was sentenced to nine years and six months in prison at the High Court in Auckland.

INZ Assistant General Manager Peter Devoy says the joint investigation shows that allegations of people trafficking, migrant exploitation and immigration fraud will be vigorously pursued on and offshore with the cooperation of international authorities.

Fiji’s employment minister Jone Usamate warned there are only two employment agencies in the country authorised to recruit locals for work overseas.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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