A couple who ran a sweet making business in Auckland have been found guilty of migrant exploitation but not guilty of more serious human trafficking charges.

The Bangladeshi pair, who are both New Zealand citizens, were jointly charged by Immigration New Zealand (INZ) with a range of offences, including deceptively arranging the entry of two Bangladeshi nationals into the country.

Mohammed Atiqul Islam, a 37-year-old company director, was found guilty at Auckland District Court on 10 charges of exploitation and seven other immigration related offences.

Islam was also found guilty of three charges of attempting to pervert the course of justice.


Nafisa Ahmed, a 34-year-old accountant, was jointly found guilty of seven exploitation charges related to five victims.

The maximum penalty on the exploitation, false and misleading information and aiding and abetting charges is seven years' imprisonment and / or a fine not exceeding $100,000.

The maximum penalty for attempting to pervert the course of justice is seven years' imprisonment.

Although the couple were found not guilty of two human trafficking charges, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) acting general manager Jock Gilray said the guilty verdicts send a strong message to the community that migrant exploitation will not be tolerated.

"Exploiting migrants is an abhorrent practice that undermines human rights and creates an uneven playing field for the vast majority of New Zealand business that seek to comply with New Zealand law."

The charges stemmed from allegations from some employees that they were underpaid or otherwise mistreated.

Both denied doing so, but accepted the new business struggled financially and was forced to close.

The couple will be sentenced on April 17.