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Samoan chief responsible of slavery in New Zealand

Joseph Auga Matamata at an earlier court hearing
Image caption Matamata faces as much as 20 years in jail or a positive of almost US$300,000

A courtroom in New Zealand has discovered a Samoan-born chief responsible of greater than 20 costs of dealing in slaves and human trafficking.

Joseph Auga Matamata, 65, was convicted of offences over a 25-year interval.

His victims, who have been all Samoan, have been too scared to alert the authorities due to his standing as a matai or chief, the courtroom heard.

Each of the 13 slavery costs on which he was convicted carries a most penalty of 14 years in jail.

Matamata faces as much as 20 years in jail or a positive of almost US$300,000 for the human-trafficking convictions. Sentencing will happen on 6 May.

Matamata, a horticultural contractor, was convicted of 10 counts of trafficking and 13 counts of slavery which came about between 1994 and 2019.

He had promised his 13 Samoan victims, the youngest of whom was 12, a greater life, the prosecution advised the High Court in Napier, the place the five-week trial was held.

Most got here on three-month vacation visas and a few ended up staying for years. They labored lengthy hours for no pay and have been usually overwhelmed.

He promised them “big money” by Samoan requirements however ended up taking the money they earned at orchards and different work websites, prosecutors stated.

It is the primary time somebody has been charged with each slavery and human trafficking in New Zealand.

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