Cracking down on illegal labor recruitment

By: L.N. Reklai

November 6, 2017 (Koror, Palau) Government filed two more cases on Labor Trafficking, People Trafficking and Exploiting of Trafficked Person on October 30, 2017.

Office of Attorney General charged Mohammad Sumon Miah, a Bangladeshi national on five counts of Labor Trafficking, People Trafficking and Exploiting Trafficked Person, all of which are felony charges. [restrict

OAG also charged Elena Dancel, a Philippine national, with Labor Trafficking in Second Degree and Exploiting Trafficked Person in the Second Degree.

Charges resulted from testimony of three Bangladeshi nationals that were lured to Palau with promises of high wages, good jobs, free housing and free food.  Based on affidavit of one Abdur Rashid, he paid $4,000 USD to the mother of Mohammed Sumon Miah in order for him to come to Palau.

Report also state that individuals paid Ms. Elena Dancel and she prepared their paperwork, falsified information and obtained permits for them under a company called United Trust Construction Co.. She obtained permit for another individual under a company called Galad Construction Company.   Individuals mentioned said they have never worked for the company United Trust Construction or Galad Construction Company.

Mohammad Shohel Miah said he has been moving around working for different people, cleaning houses and recently been working for NECO, but never worked for United Trust Construction, a company his permit is registered.

Others also reported that they’ve worked for different people but never for the company that’s on their work permits.

Earlier this year, a joint taskforce was created within the Ministry of Justice’s Labor and Immigration Division’s to crackdown on Labor and Immigration violations.

These cases are the results of on-going efforts to combat illegal recruiting of laborers, human and human trafficking in the Republic of Palau.

Last month, President Remengesau Jr. issued a Directive creating a Taskforce on Human Trafficking, headed by Vice President and Minister of Justice Raynold Oilouch, to address the issues of Human Trafficking and Labor Trafficking in Palau.

On a related subject, House of Delegates introduced a bill 10-62-4 to increase penalties for offenses of people smuggling and other human trafficking offenses.  Currently, Labor Trafficking in First Degree is punishable by 1-25 years imprisonment and optional fine of $50,000.  House of Delegates seeks to increase fine up to $100,000 and not more than 25 years in jail.

The bill also seeks to send out message to international community and potential offenders that the crime will not be tolerated in Palau. [/restrict]