30 Aug 2010

American Samoa official support legislation criminalising human trafficking

1:41 pm on 30 August 2010

American Samoa's Director of Homeland Security, Tuala Mike Sala, says a House bill which makes human trafficking and involuntary servitude crimes in the territory is timely and necessary.

Currently the territory does not have such a law which means such cases have to be tried off island.

Tuala has shown the House a US Department of Justice report which names the Daewoosa Samoa case as the worst example ever of human trafficking to occur on US soil.

In 2003, three people connected with Daewoosa faced charges after being accused of keeping 200 Asian garment workers in involuntary servitude and of starving them.

Tuala said if the House bill is enacted, any human trafficking crimes committed in the territory can be prosecuted and tried there.

He said American Samoa is still affected by human trafficking:

"It's well organised and too sophisticated and the local law enforcement they don't have the capability and capacity to address it, that's why we have this task force with the FBI and down the road with the state department and the DA."

American Samoa's Director of Homeland Security, Tuala Mike Sala,