Originally published for The New Zealand Herald on August 28, 2014—
“Two people have been charged with human trafficking after 18 Indian men were trafficked into New Zealand to work in the horticulture industry, Immigration New Zealand says.
It is the first time human trafficking charges have been laid in this country.
Two men were arrested in the Motueka area this morning and charged under the Crimes Act 1961 for allegedly arranging by deception the entry of 18 Indian nationals into New Zealand. The charge has a maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine of $500,000.
They were also Indian nationals, 3News reported.
One of the men was also charged, along with a third person arrested in Auckland this morning, under the Immigration Act 1987 over false refugee claims they allegedly made for the 18 men once they arrived in New Zealand. The charge has a penalty of up to seven years in prison and/or a fine of up to $100,000.
The men – all aged over 18 – were brought into the country to work in the horticulture industry in the Nelson region in 2008-09, Peter Devoy, Immigration New Zealand’s assistant general manager for compliance and border operations, said.
A tip-off in 2012 brought the case to INZ’s attention, he said.
“I don’t want to comment on the specifics but … this is one of those cases where we did receive information and the investigation stemmed from that.”
The trafficking charges were the first to be laid in New Zealand, he said.”
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