A man was found guilty of human trafficking charges for victimizing Bangladeshi workers to go to Palau and work under employment documents for jobs that turned out to be fictitious.

The defendant, who is identified as Zakir Khair, was convicted of two counts of Labor Trafficking in the First Degree, one count of Labor Trafficking in the Second Degree, one Count of People Trafficking, and one Count of Exploiting a Trafficked Person.

Four Bangladeshi workers (name withheld to protect their dignity) testified against the defendant.

Based on the affidavit, one of the victims, said that he was assured during the recruitment process that there was good opportunity to earn money in Palau and that it was Khair and his father who told him about the opportunity. Victim alleged that he even paid Bangladeshi Takas to the accused worth $4,000 for work at a company called United Trust Construction Co.

Another victim was also promised of hotel jobs, free food and housing and a salary of $600 a month. He alleged that Khair’s father had asked him to pay Bangladeshi Takas equivalent to $6,000 for an opportunity to work, still, at United Trust Construction Co.

Third victim also testified that he and his father allegedly gave Khair’s father another Bangladeshi Takas equivalent to $6,000 in June 2016 for a security guard job at the Island Bar Hotel with a rate of $3.25 per hour. Harry said that since receiving a working permit for the said company, he has not been working.

Labor Trafficking in the First Degree carries a maximum penalty of 1 to 25 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $50,000.  Meanwhile, Labor Trafficking in the Second Degree is punishable by 1-10-year imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000.  People Trafficking is also punishable by imprisonment for not more than 25 years and/or a fine of not more than $250,00.0 Exploiting a Trafficked Person is punishable by not more than 10-year imprisonment, or a fine of not more than $50,000, or both.

A remand order had also been issued against Khair for failing to post bail worth $2,500 cash or $5,000 surety bond.

“Defendant shall remain in custody until bail is posted for all of the above cases…” the remand order stated. ( Rhealyn C. Pojas/Reporter)