Seychellois convicted of trafficking in persons for defrauding 3 Bangladeshi labourers
Seychelles has many migrant workers from mainly Asian countries such as India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. (Joe Laurence, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The Seychelles' Supreme Court has convicted a Seychellois for trafficking in persons after he was found guilty of defrauding three foreign nationals and forced them into labour.
The terms of the sentence will be delivered at a later date.
The accused, Israel Labrosse of Anse Aux Pins, was charged on three counts of trafficking in persons for three Bangladeshis: Selim Reja, Ali Houssein and Alauddin Mondal.
The three Bangladeshis were recruited in 2017 to work for Isra Construction, a business owned by Labrosse.
Justice Ronny Govinden said that after scrutinising the evidence he found that the accused intended to and exploited the three complainants in the case.
"He intentionally failed to pay them their salaries and allowances as he had contracted to pay them. All attempts on the part of the complainants to get back their full salaries failed and as of to date, according to the employees testimonies the payments are still outstanding."
The chairperson of the Association for Rights Information and Democracy (Arid), Lucianne Bristol, told SNA on Monday that when she looks at the judgment of the case it was truly human trafficking.
"This was a case that I was following myself and I can attest to the fact that these workers were being mistreated and not paid according to their contract. The sentence must include paying these workers their dues," said Bristol.
She added that "I am waiting for the terms of the sentence to see if justice has been served or not."
Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, has many migrant workers from mainly Asian countries such as India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. They are mostly employed in the construction sector.
This is the second case of trafficking in persons in Seychelles, where a person has been convicted. In 2018, the Seychelles' Supreme Court sentenced a Bangladeshi national, Faisal Alam, to three years in prison for human trafficking.
Seychelles was upgraded from Tier 2 Watch List to Tier 2 on the United States Trafficking in Persons Report for 2019, in recognition of the island nation's efforts to combat trafficking.
The report stated that the Seychelles' government had "demonstrated overall increasing efforts by investigating and prosecuting more cases, as well as convicting its first trafficker under the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons Act of 2014."