Slavery is alive and well in NZ

Slavery West Indies

We can thank our lax immigration laws for the slavery trade lurking happily on our lovely green shores.

Colonialism put an end to the slavery which had been rife among warring Maori tribes in the 19th century, but in recent years it’s snuck back in again, happily nothing to do with Maori.

It’s now connected to immigrants of various nationalities where a few rotten apples are spoiling it for the rest of the barrel.

Remember the Pacific Islanders employed for seasonal fruit picking, housed in squalid conditions and robbed blind by a fellow countryman?

How about the Thai women trafficked to work in the sex industry, how are they faring under their Thai overseers in the last three years since the whistle was blown?

Probably reported on and promptly forgotten about, in the assumption our trusty Government and its minions have the matter well in hand.  Well, they don’t.  This is not to say they don’t care, I’m sure they do.  They just don’t have the motivation to aggressively deal to the perpetrators.

Victims of slavery have no rights and no voice.

Business leaders say New Zealand’s reputation is at risk if employers don’t do more to combat modern day slavery.

Faroz Ali was the first person to be found guilty of human trafficking in New Zealand.

Masala bosses also ended up in the dock, charged with exploiting workers.

Then, there were the owners of a Japanese chain in Auckland who took passports off their workers while paying them a pittance.

The Immigration Minister says one possible option is to legislate and force companies to ensure their product supply chains are legitimate.  

This weak and ineffectual comment by the Minister is exactly why nothing will change, eventually allowing slavery to be an unwelcome but accepted norm.  Legitimate supply chains indeed! This is purely sidestepping the problem.  These criminals already fly under the radar, does the Minister really think they are going to report on their illegal business practices? Shame!

What we really need is some well thought out, strong and effective legislation, not about useless business compliance, but about immigration standards and the penalties for breaking them. This is the job the Minister signed up for, and it’s simply unacceptable to pussyfoot around.

These offenders are immigrants, so it’s time to take a measuring stick to prospective immigrants and properly assess their worth before letting them permanently settle. If they can’t understand and agree with the way we treat each other in our country, such as equality, respect and fairness, they should be put on a plane and returned from whence they came.

How about introducing provisional citizenship for ten years where immigrants immediately relinquish their right to permanent citizenship on criminal conviction? When found guilty, instead of being housed at taxpayer expense they and their dependents are instantly deported. Yes, I hear the cries of “why should their children suffer?” Because it’s a very harsh penalty to fit a serious crime and it’s not our responsibility to support this family in the absence of their breadwinner who chose this path. Give the family a cash grant to set them up in their country of origin if you must, but get them out of here. It’s time to get tough, really tough.

Penalties for serious infractions such as slavery and terrorism should be a harsh deterrent and include stripping NZ citizenship and booting them out.

Feroz Ali is the Fijian found guilty in 2016 of enticing and exploiting Fijians to work in NZ. Ali made them sleep on the floor of overcrowded basements and they were paid little if anything. He was jailed for nine years and six months for the crime of slavery and he’ll probably be out earlier on good behaviour. He is kept at taxpayer expense and if he has a family we are probably supporting them as well. The maximum sentence for this egregious behaviour is 20 years imprisonment and a $500,000 fine.  His victims said he treated them like dogs.

Let’s not get precious about offending potential immigrants through a vigorous vetting process and harsher penalties for infringement as it’s time to take a firm stance against this evil. By spelling it out, this kind of riffraff will know they are not welcome and that we are not toothless idiots.


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Suze aka Sue Sangster is an avid reader, writer and aspiring novelist with a green thumb.

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