12 Jan 2010

Govt department suspected of aiding human trafficking

6:00 am on 12 January 2010

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

Various agencies including the FBI raided the government department last week searching for the files of 750 Asian people.

Radio New Zealand International 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.

Investigators believe some people have fallen victim to human trafficking when they are tricked into going to American Samoa on the pretext that they will eventually get into the United States.

Authorities have established that many people have been kept at a house. They believe the women are being used as prostitutes, while men are providing labour

for Asians living in America Samoa, Mills reports.