A Bangladeshi man was arrested on Saturday for violating the immigration law and operating an unregistered guesthouse in Malé.
Mannan Mia, 29, was taken into custody in a routine inspection jointly conducted in the capital by the police and immigration department. He was housing more than 100 undocumented migrant workers in an overcrowded, unhygienic and poorly ventilated space smaller than 1,000 square feet. There were 11 sleeping quarters of 90 square feet.
All foreign nationals who were living in the unregistered guesthouse were granted the opportunity to register under the government’s regularisation programme, which was launched last September to legalise undocumented workers within a six-month period in a renewed bid to tackle human trafficking.
Last year, the Maldives was downgraded on a United States watchlist for human trafficking over the failure to meet minimum standards for elimination.
According to an annual human trafficking report by the US State Department, many workers from South Asian countries are brought in by recruitment agents with the promise of resort jobs only to be left to fend for themselves after their passports are confiscated. Foreign workers are subjected to “practices indicative of forced labour, including fraudulent recruitment, confiscation of identity and travel documents, withholding or non-payment of wages, and debt bondage.”
Immigration aai @PoliceMv gulhigen hingi “routine inspection” ehgai Immigrationge Qanoonaa hilaaf vegennaai, qavaaidhaa hilaafah registry nukoh guest house hingamun dhiumaai gulhigen, bidheysee aku vanee Immigrationge belumuge dhashah genevifa.#RayyithungeHidhumathuga#Gulhigen pic.twitter.com/t8UrlzB6QR
— Maldives Immigration (@ImmigrationMV) December 1, 2019