Samoan chief, Joseph Auga Matamata,   found guilty of human trafficking enslaving villagers for over 25 years in New Zealand

January 25, 2023 12:33 am33 commentsViews: 115

 

Joseph Auga Matamata, brought people to Hastings and forced them for no paid work and were subjected to abuse. He is also convicted of slavery

 

Samoan chief based in New Zealand, Joseph Auga Matamata is found guilty of slavery and human trafficking. He enslaved 13 countrymen for over a period of 25 years.

65-year-old Joseph Auga Matamata is also called Villiamu Samu has been found guilty on 13 counts slavery and 10 counts trafficking. He is following a trial of five-week at the Napier High Court.

He was exculpated of one charge of human trafficking of a young boy, who was adopted by him in Samoa in 2016. The court has the jury of six women and five men, it took more than seven hours to return the judgment.

This is the first time in New Zealand when anyone had been charged with slavery and human trafficking simultaneously.

Matamata started human trafficking between 1994 and April 2019. It involved 13 Samoans of three different villages located on Upolu Island. One of them was only 12 years old.

A pattern was detected for Matamata’s offending, he kept bringing people in small groups from villages to New Zealand and had been continuing this 25-years for his personal financial benefits.

He promised the people paid schooling and horticultural work in New Zealand and he also paid for each of their flights, passports, and visa expenses. But after the arrival he kept them working for long hours, and for the entire week,  without any pay while he got “bags full of cash”.

The slavery charges in new Zealand is 14 years penalty of prison, and human trafficking is charged for 20 years penalty in prison or is charged for NZ$500,00 fine.

He has been kept in custody till sentencing in May.

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