The Human Rights Commission has today welcomed New Zealand’s first human trafficking conviction, saying it serves a strong reminder to kiwi businesses that exploiting migrant workers will not go unpunished.
Feroz Ali was found guilty in the Auckland High Court of 15 people trafficking charges and guilty of 15 charges for aiding and abetting a person to unlawfully enter New Zealand.
Equal Employment Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue says the conviction today is monumental for victims of human trafficking.
“It is a reminder to New Zealanders that we are not immune to human rights issues, such as human trafficking, and to businesses to ensure they are not party to these sorts of crimes.
“Millions of people around the world are exploited by human traffickers, it’s a global human rights issue and we would be naïve to believe it doesn’t happen in New Zealand.
“Migrant workers are crucial to our economy and have the same rights as all workers in New Zealand. Businesses have a responsibility to ensure they are respecting the human rights of all their employees – this includes migrant workers.
“Our Government committed to proactively target employers that exploit migrant workers in the NZ Human Rights National Plan of Action and we are pleased to see this has taken place.
“It is now crucial for Government to update their "National Plan of Action to Prevent People Trafficking, which sets out the government’s strategy for responding to the complex crime of human trafficking and protecting victims.”
“We are one of the world’s most ethnically diverse nations, with more people are coming to live and work in New Zealand than at any other time in our recent history. It is vital that the rights of those people are protected and that those who exploit those rights know this will not be tolerated here.”