NZ identified as a destination country for human trafficking since 2004

He charged them exorbitant fees and then exploited them upon arrival by forcing them to work illegally and live in overcrowded conditions, underpaying them and threatening them with deportation if they complained.

The court heard how the workers felt “betrayed” by Ali and how many are still thousands of dollars in debt with their friends and family after borrowing money to pay for his scam.

“We were made fools. All of us,” one worker said during his testimony. Another cried on the stand saying she will never be able to pay her friends and family back.

Ali faces a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment or a $500,000 fine or both. He will be sentenced in October.