12 Oct 2017
- By Bryan Manabat – [email protected] – Variety News Staff
A worker from Bangladesh who claimed to be a victim of human trafficking said he did not know what “trafficking” meant.
During his testimony in federal court on Wednesday, Abbu Alam was asked by defense counsel Janet King if he knew what trafficking meant. He said he did not know.
King then showed the jury a copy of Alam’s statement written in Bengali and submitted to the U.S. Homeland Security Investigation Unit stating that he was a victim of human trafficking.
Alam confirmed it was his hand-writing and signature on the document. He admitted that he was helped by his lawyer, Pam Brown, in making the statement to U.S. Homeland Security.
King then told Alam that he knew that the original job contract he signed was for a position of a welder for one year.
“It was clear to you that the visa was for one year only, and that you cannot stay [here] forever,” King told Alam. “Yet you still believe that you are a victim of circumstances.”
Alam replied that he paid a lot of money to come and work in Saipan/America.
King also pointed out that Alam testified earlier that he was made to sign a blank time-sheet.
King then showed Alam a check stub — with his signature on it — that detailed the number of hours he had worked and the amount of money he received for the work.
Alam said: “The only thing I can say is that is my signature.”
King represents one of the defendants, Analyn Nunez, a document preparer for United Brothers which is doing business as TBK Auto Cares. Nunez is accused of mailing fraudulent CW-1 petitions to U.S. Citizenship Immigration Services.
Alam stated in court that he was promised by recruiters Muksedur Rahman and Md. Rafiqul Islam — who are among the defendants — that he would make $1,500 a month working on Saipan.
Alam said he told a TBK Auto Shop staffer that he would file a complaint against Rahman and Islam but not against TBK Auto Shop owner David Trung Quoc Phan “because he is a good guy.”
Alam stated that he and the other Bangladeshi workers asked Phan to renew their CW-1 permits.
On Wednesday morning, Nita Batiguas, an employee of TBK Auto Cares, testified that she overheard the workers begging Phan to renew their CW-1 permits.
Phan, Shahinur Akter, who is Rahman’s wife, and another alleged recruiter, Zeaur Rahman Dalu, are the other defendants.
Dalu has already pled guilty and has agreed to testify against his co-defendants.
Alan will continue his testimony today, Thursday.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Eric O’Malley and James Benedetto are prosecuting the case. Presiding over the jury trial is District Court for the NMI Senior Judge John C. Coughenour.
Source: Marianas Variety : http://www.mvariety.com/cnmi/cnmi-news/local/99250-alleged-victim-doesn-t-know-what-trafficking-means