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Vanuatu court sentences four Bangladeshis for trafficking and slavery

Friday 24 June 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Regional, Vanuatu

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Vanuatu court sentences four Bangladeshis for trafficking and slavery
Bangladeshi human trafficking victims in Vanuatu Photo: Supplied

The sentencing of four Bangladeshi nationals implicated in human trafficking in Vanuatu was handed down this week, after four years of a legal battle.

It is considered the biggest ever human trafficking case in the Pacific.

The man behind a business called Mr Price, Sekdah Somon, was sentenced to 14 years jin ail and fined, while his wife, Buxoo Nabilah Bibi got 7 years' jail and a further fine.

Two others, Anowar Hossain and Palas Hosan, got 6 and 7 years in jail respectively.

This quartet had masterminded an arrangement to lure more than 100 Bangladeshis into Vanuatu with the promise of employment, but they ended up being enslaved.

Last November, the four were convicted by the Vanuatu Supreme Court on trafficking, slavery, and money laundering charges.

There were additional convictions for assault, threatening to kill, and misrepresentation.

The defendants have also been ordered to pay $US1.67 million dollars as compensation to the 101 victims of their schemes.

After the uncovering of the crime, the victims were returned to Bangladesh following a period of being cared for by the International Organisation for Migration and the Vanuatu government.