Bandar Seri Begawan - Exploitation does not need to occur in the initial stage or when an employer first receives an employee but it can happen at any time during or within the time of employment or under the care of the employer.
This is one of the elements of a human trafficking offence, as testified by ASP Ang Lay Bee, Head of Human Trafficking Investigation Unit at Ong Sun Ping in the ongoing high Court trial on charges of human trafficking and abuse against a Chinese 'couple.
Defence Counsel for Teo Pin Pin, Phillip Fong further scrutinised elements of human trafficking evidence in the investigations of ASP Ang on this case.
In re-examinations by DPP Pg Hana, ASP Ang confirms that although she had asked the victim during investigations whether she was a victim of human trafficking and answered by the victim that she was not, ASP Ang testified in court that many human trafficking victims are not aware that they are victims of human trafficking, and this did not affect ASP Ang's recommendations to the Attorney General's Chambers to proceed with human trafficking charges against Chiew Wee Tat and Teo Pin Pin.
ASP Ang further Clarified that this was just as a routine question that she would ask during investigations.
ASP Ang stated that she made recommendations to the AGC to proceed with human trafficking charges because she acquired these information during investigations.
The victim came to Brunei to work voluntarily, without deception, through agents ill Indonesia mid Brunei and was recruited and received by Chiew Wee Tat through the agent to work for him with an agreed salary of $250 per month for a period of two years and while the victim was working at the family address she claimed that she was deprived of basic human needs and that she was abused which was not a one-off event but it occurred continuously since November 2010.
The victim's salary, after deduction of six months from start of employment on May 2009 to reimburse Chiew on payment of the victim's expenses to work here, was agreed upon between Chiew and the victim to be kept with Chiew until she asked for it back for remittance to Indonesia or upon when her contract ends in January 2011. Despite this, Chiew informed her that all her salary had been deducted.
Understanding that the victim was not abused or exploited when she was recruited in May 2009; exploitation can take place at any time during the employment or under the care of employer leading to elements of human trafficking.
She also stated that the victim was recruited under Chiew's quota, when in fact the victim was working for both the defendants even if it was Chiew who was the official employer stated in the contract of employment.
Regarding the absence of the victim's allegation of her salary being deducted by her employer to compensate for damaged items in ASP Ang's statement taken from the victim, and although it was verbally related to ASP Ang, ASP Mg confirmed that this statement is recorded in the investigations of Inspector Zalinda Susan Skinner of the -Women and Children Abuse Investigation Unit earlier.
The reason why ASP Ang did not interview any personnel from the ,Labour Department on whether the victim's contract of employment issued by the Labour Department was legitimate was because it was a legal and binding document produced by the government and bore government stamps.
An issue on ASP Ang's photo taking of the family home in Kg Kiarong of its gated balcony was raised.
ASP Ang stated that she could not see inside the gated balcony as she had to extend just a little bit further to be able to see inside the gated balcony when she took the photo with her phone for evidence.
It was also raised that ASP Ang did not translate from Teo Pin Pin's statement in Mandarin to English correctly on the sentence "we (Teo Pin Pin and her husband) are not comfortable with her (the victim) taking care of our children" in Mandarin and was translated by ASP Aug into "we do not trust her taking care of our children".
ASP Ang said this .was the word that came to her mind at that time of translation and had confirmed earlier in cross-examination that the correct translation would be "not comfortable" as suggested by the Defense Counsel.
The trial continues today with the next prosecution witness.
Deputy Public Prosecutors Pg Hjh Hana Molina Pg Hj Mohammad and Dk Didi Pg Latiff appeared on behalf of the Public Prosecutor.
Lawyer Ahmad Basuni of Abrahams Davidson and Company represented Chiew while Teo hired Philip Fong of Harry Elias Partnership.
The trial is heard before Justice Dato Paduka Steven Chong.
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin