11 Jan 2010

US probes American Samoa immigration office files

3:19 pm on 11 January 2010

An investigation is underway in American Samoa into an alleged human trafficking scheme involving the Immigration Office.

The Office of Criminal Intelligence, the FBI and the Department of Public Safety raided the Immigration Office last week searching for files of 750 Asians, including Chinese, Korean and Filipino citizens.

Our correspondent Monica Miller says the records are being investigated as part of allegations that 30 day entry permits and identification cards are being issued illegally.

She says investigators believe some people have fallen victim to human trafficking when they're tricked into going to American Samoa on the pretext they would eventually get into the United States.

"What the authorities have been able to establish is that a lot of men and women have been kept at a house and they think that the women have been used as prostitutes and the men are basically providing labour for persons that are owned by Asians there."

Monica Miller.