23 Nov 2018

Bangladeshi couple in custody on slavery and trafficking charges

2:49 pm on 23 November 2018

A Bangladeshi couple facing charges of human trafficking and slavery in Vanuatu has been remanded in custody by the Magistrates Court.

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Photo: 123RF

Sekdah Somon and Buxoo Nabilah Bibi were arrested and charged with 12 counts of human trafficking.

They are also facing 12 counts of slavery.

Sources told the Vanuatu Daily Post of allegations the couple had illegally imported 12 workers from Bangladesh between September and November 2018.

The sources alleged complaints were laid with the police which led to the couple's arrest.

Further charges are yet to be laid, according to the paper's source, who alleged 92 people were illegally brought to Vanuatu by the couple.

The paper reported the Bangladeshi couple entered the country with passports from Zimbabwe and Mauritius.

The couple were denied bail in the Magistrates Court on Wednesday amid concerns they may have access to other passports which would make them a flight risk.

Daily Post sources alleged the couple arranged and facilitated illegal entry of workers to Vanuatu using deception, then denied their freedom of movement using coercion or threats of violence, and placed them in servitude.

Sources said breaches in Vanuatu immigration, labour and Vanuatu Financial Service Commission (VFSC) laws might result in more people being charged as a result of the investigation.