Maldives Immigration says it is running a joint-investigation with the police on 24 companies suspected of human trafficking and illegal recruitment.
Immigration, last week, deported two foreign citizens suspected of involvement in human trafficking – bringing the issue of human trafficking in Maldives to the forefront.
Deputy chief immigration officer, Mohamed Shifan reported to Sun that the two foreign citizens were deported for violation of immigration law.
He said that the immigration law empowers the agency only with administrative action, and that criminal investigations fall within the jurisdiction of the police.
Shifan said that criminal investigations are run if Immigration finds incriminating evidence, and the information is shared with the police.
He said the Immigration has not been informed the two foreign citizens are under investigation by the police.
“We do not raise criminal suspicions based on media reports of such allegations. Immigration has not been informed [the two foreign citizens are] under criminal investigation,” said Shifan. “And we weren’t informed of a criminal investigation against them when they were deported”.
Meanwhile, chief police spokesperson, Izmia Zahir said that no State agency has filed a request with the police to investigate any case against the two deported foreign citizens.
IMMIGRATION: 24 COMPANIES UNDER INVESTIGATION
Shifan said that though the two foreign citizens aren’t under investigation, law enforcement agencies are running investigations on large-scale companies suspected of human trafficking activity within Maldives.
He said the Immigration and police were running joint-investigations on 24 such companies – and were coordinating with the Prosecutor General’s Office regarding the cases.
“24 companies suspected of human trafficking activity and illegal recruitment. We are running the investigations on the 24 companies in collaboration with Maldives Police Service. To take legal action against the parties found negligent,” said Shifan.
He said the Immigration was also conducting additional investigations in collaboration with the police.
“We also have additional cases we are collaborating with Maldives Police Service on. Cases planned on the pipeline,” said Shifan.
The decision by Immigration to deport the two foreign citizens instead of holding and investigating them is being widely criticized by the Maldivian public.