23 Aug 2016

Victim of alleged human trafficker felt 'ashamed'

6:00 pm on 23 August 2016

A Fijian woman giving evidence against the man who is accused of trafficking her into the country says she feels ashamed she fell for his scam.

Exterior of the Auckland High Court

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Suliana Vetanivula gave evidence in the High Court in Auckland today at the trial of the man who is accused of exploiting her.

Faroz Ali faces charges of people trafficking, and helping 16 Fijian workers to unlawfully enter New Zealand in 2014.

Yesterday, the Fijian national admitted eight charges of helping people breach their visa conditions and 18 charges of not paying his employees the minimum wage.

However, he pleaded not guilty to a further 31 charges, including people trafficking.

Ms Vetanivula told the court today she borrowed money from friends and family in order to pay the fees Mr Ali and his sister in-law demanded to secure work and a visa.

She says she was promised $17 an hour but when she arrived in New Zealand she was told all of her pay went towards the accommodation provided for her.

Ms Vetanivula told the court she felt ashamed and embarrassed because she was still working to pay people back.

The trial was set down for six weeks.