Former Immigration Officials To Face Trial For Human Trafficking

Former Immigration Officials To Face Trial For Human Trafficking

Saturday, February 25 2012 @ 12:15 PM COT
Contributed by: Don Winner
Views: 48
The former Chief of Security of the National Immigration Service, Rolando Taboada and six others will face justice at a preliminary hearing on 20 March 2012 in the Third Criminal Court for allegedly committing crimes against humanity. The First Circuit Prosecutor Dayra Botello requested, through her “prosecutor’s opinion,” that these seven people be called to trial for allegedly having introduced Chinese citizens into Panama illegally. Besides Taboada, the Botello called the for the criminal prosecution of the Inspector of the entity, Benicio Coronado; the Chief of Investigations Carlos Cordoba; a driver Eduardo Aguilar; the Transportation Director Juan Chichaco; the lawyer Antonio Garzon; and one of the alleged intermediaries (coyote) Hong Zhi Zhang.
This investigation began in September 2010 after the capture of several Chinese citizens who said they had paid between $15,000 to $20,000 dollars each in order to enter Panama. Prosecutors determined that Taboada was the alleged ringleader of this criminal network, and following his orders, the others allowed these people to enter the Tocumen International Airport without having their immigration papers in order. Apparently, these people would be given or sold to business owners, also Chinese, for them to work.

However, preliminary investigations revealed these people had been deceived. They were told they would be staying in Panama for a short time, but then later they would be transported to their final destination in the United States.

This case became known after a complaint was lodged by the then Director of the National Immigration Service Maria Cristina Gonzalez, after detaining several Chinese nationals who had illegally entered into Panamanian territory through the Tocumen airport. Gonzalez made a sworn statement in this case at the beginning of the investigation. (Panama America)

Editor’s Comment: The illegal human trafficking of Chinese citizens has been happening in Panama literally for decades. For the most part this activity is conducted and coordinated by elements of Chinese organized crime. The organized crime bosses pay bribes to the corrupt members of the Panamanian government to make this happen. Newly arriving (illegal) Chinese immigrants are quickly given residency papers, work permits, and “loans” to start a new business, usually a corner store, grocery, laundry, or something similar. Chinese citizens who don’t speak a word of Spanish are dropped into extremely remote areas of the country and forced to work off their debt – that’s why there’s a “chino” on ever corner of every little town throughout Panama. This first generation literally has to work their fingers to the bone to feed their families and to repay the debt to their handlers, and this normally takes a full lifetime. Then their sons and daughters and grandchildren are then given an opportunity to make a better life for themselves. This is a modern form of slavery. It’s alive and well in Panama, no doubt about it. This case is just a little, itty, bitty chip of a massive iceberg. It is suspected the visa to visit the United States of former Panamanian president Ernesto Perez Balladares was cancelled over allegations of similar human trafficking activity of Chinese aliens. They would come in through Panama, and then be smuggled to the United States. This is not a new problem.

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5 Responses to “Former Immigration Officials To Face Trial For Human Trafficking”

  1. Luke says:

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