Justice Restored for Trafficked Fisherman
Last November, Law Centre (NI) secured a repayment of wages for a Filipino fisherman who was trafficked into Northern Ireland. HMRC found that the client had been underpaid by just over £3,000 during a 10 week period.
The client was recruited in the Philippines by a Filipino shipping agency to work on a ship in the UK. He believed he was going to England but he in fact arrived in Northern Ireland. During his time on the fishing boat he was frequently working on board for 20 hours a day and when not on board he was put to work on land for long hours. Some payment was made to his family in the Philippines but this did not reflect what had been agreed in his contract and was nowhere near sufficient to cover the hours worked. He was rescued by the PSNI and came to the Law Centre for assistance.
In these cases, HMRC can issue a Notice of Underpayment which could result in the employer being fined with a penalty of 200% of the underpayment amount. HMRC also has discretion to whether to 'name and shame' the employer. Law Centre (NI) continues to monitor the situation.
This case first came to the attention of the Law Centre’s anti-trafficking unit, which provides advocacy and immigration advice for young people who have been trafficked, and was referred to our employment legal advice unit.
Any similar cases can be referred to the Law Centre’s employment legal advice line: 028 9024 4401