Left Menu
Development News Edition

Morocco ex-diplomat to U.N. accused of visa fraud over workers

Reuters | New York | Updated: 14-12-2019 02:25 IST | Created: 14-12-2019 02:20 IST
Morocco ex-diplomat to U.N. accused of visa fraud over workers

Prosecutors in New York have charged a former Moroccan ambassador to the United Nations and others with visa fraud, accusing them of bringing workers to the United States using fake employment contracts and then exploiting them. Abdeslam Jaidi, his ex-wife Maria Luisa Estrella and her brother Ramon Singson brought in more than 10 workers from the Philippines and Morocco since about 2006, according to the indictment filed in federal court in New York.

The visa applications said the workers would be employed as administrative or technical staff at the consulate or Moroccan U.N. mission, and some included fake employment contracts, it said. Instead, the workers were used as personal drivers, domestic helpers, and farmhands, the indictment said.

They were paid low wages - sometimes less than $500 a month - and worked long hours without time off. Some had to hand over their passports, it also said. "This case sends a strong message that diplomatic immunity does not equal impunity," said Martina Vandenberg, head of the Washington-based Human Trafficking Legal Center.

"Even high-ranking diplomats can be called to account if there are allegations of visa fraud and exploitation." Jaidi served as a U.N. ambassador from Morocco.

Other foreign diplomats in the United States have been accused in recent years over treatment of their employees. Earlier this year, the U.S. government suspended new visas for domestic employees of Malawian officials after one of its diplomats failed to pay $1.1 million in damages to a woman she trafficked in the United States.

Supporters have warned that domestic workers employed by diplomats are vulnerable to abuses and even human trafficking because their visas chain them to specific employers. Being tied to a specific employer means they cannot switch to a better job and if they quit, they typically must leave the country.

The charges, filed on Thursday in U.S. District Court in White Plains, N.Y., were a conspiracy to commit offenses and defraud and conspiracy to induce aliens to come to, enter and reside in the country. The crimes carry maximum sentences of five and 10 years in prison, respectively.

Estrella, 60, was arrested in March, while Jaidi, 82, who lives in Rabat, Morocco, and Singson, 55, who lives in Manila, is at large. Her lawyers declined to comment.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.



Education post-coronavirus: Schools to rush for more digitalization

Digital education would undoubtedly boom in the post-coronavirus world, supported by educational institutions that have discovered its efficiency during the crisis, but it is still not expected to outshine traditional classroom learning....

Public health care post-COVID 19 to go for revamping, not rebooting

Until now, the economies used to classify healthcare sector under social expenditure. However, the devastation caused by COVID 19 pandemic has upgraded public healthcare on topmost priority and core economic activity for controlling future ...

Coronavirus lockdowns to speed up long-pending revamping of supply chains

With millions of production lines impacted, business disruptions to some extent are unavoidable and the lessons learned from this turbulence will leave an everlasting impact on both global and local levels of supply chains....

COVID 19 to catalyze the redefinition of urban planning and sustainability

Until now the urban planning was focused on mitigation to natural disastrous, climate change, pollution, chronic illness and lifestyle diseases. However, the global pandemic of novel coronavirus is going to change the whole narrative of urb...


Latest News

Drop in China's new coronavirus cases; none in Wuhan for sixth day

China reported a drop in new coronavirus infections for a fourth day as drastic curbs on international travellers reined in the number of imported cases, while policymakers turned their efforts to healing the worlds second-largest economy. ...

Cambodia PM orders casinos shut down as coronavirus cases climb

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday ordered all casinos to close to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Cambodia reported four new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, bringing its tally to 107, the Ministry of Health said in a statem...

Edible oil demand likely to decline during March-April amid COVID-19 lockdown

Edible oil demand is set to decline at least during March-April as hotels and restaurants have closed down amid nationwide lockdown to fight against coronavirus disease, according to an industry body. Hotel, Restaurants and Cafeterias HoReC...

Australia pledges $80bln wages subsidy to protect jobs from coronavirus

Australia will spend A130 billion 79.85 billion to subsidise the wages of an estimated 6 million people, marking a third tranche of stimulus designed to limit the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic on the countrys economy.Prime Minister Sc...

Give Feedback