Indian-origin men among three face human trafficking trial

Wellington, Nov 8 (IANS) A trial of two Indian-origin men among three facing human trafficking charges in New Zealand will begin on Monday, a media report said on Sunday.

They were allegedly involved in trafficking of 18 Indians. All the three men, however, have pleaded not guilty.

Satnam Singh, Jaswinder Singh Sangha, and a third man with name suppressed are the first people in New Zealand to be charged with people trafficking, the New Zealand Herald reported.

The accused would be tried in the high court at Nelson city after the jury selection and pre-trial formalities were completed on Friday.

During their arrest in August last year, the Immigration New Zealand (INZ) alleged that the three people were involved in trafficking 18 Indians to work in horticulture industry in 2008-09.

Singh and Sangha were arrested from Motueka town in New Zealand, an important agricultural region north of Nelson while the third man was arrested from Auckland.

Both of them were charged under the Crimes Act of arranging the entry of people into New Zealand by coercion or deception.

Crimes Act is a leading part of the criminal law in New Zealand that regulates social conduct and proscribes whatever is threatening, harmful, or otherwise endangering to the property, health, safety, and moral welfare of people.

Sangha and the third man also face charges of knowingly producing a false or misleading document to an immigration, visa, or refugee status officer.

In September, all the three men pleaded not guilty in the Nelson district court.

The most serious charge of arranging the entry of people by deception carries a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in jail, a fine of 500,000 New Zealand dollars ($326,275) or both.

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