Human trafficking case against RIX Company sent to PG

Expatriate workers in B.Bondufinolhu | photo: Police

Male’, Maldives – Maldives Police Service has forwarded a case of alleged human trafficking against RIX Company Privay Limited, who were contracted to develop the island of B.Bodufinolhu as a resort.

Police media officials stated that the case was sent to the Prosecutor General’s Office on 3rd December 2020.

Bodufinolhu was the site of massive unrest in July last year by workers due to unpaid wages by RIX Company. The unrest saw expatriate workers take some Maldivians hostage and even clash with police. The workers also destroyed and damaged a number of vehicles and machinery on the island as well. 19 individuals were arrested and later released into the custody of Maldives Immigration following the unrest.

Managing Director of RIX Company and Milandhoo MP Ali Riza had admitted that the workers were owed four months of wages which were delayed due to the pandemic. RIX Company later shifted the blame to the developers of the island Seal Maldives for failing to provide funds owed under the agreement for the project.

Seal Maldives then rejected the statement by saying that the wages of workers by the contractor was to be paid by the RIX Company. The company also said that it had provided RIX Company with more than MVR 21 million.

Police investigation into the matter included illegal exploitation of workers, forced labor, labor rights violation, facilitation of human trafficking, unpaid fees on behalf of the workers to the state. Police have stated that the company had allegedly brought in workers in large numbers unlawfully and that the workers were also misinformed. It is alleged by police that the company resorted to human trafficking tactics to do so.

The company is also accused of taking in workers suspected of being subjected to human trafficking and moving the workers from one location to another in the Maldives. The company had exploited the dire situation of the workers and forced them to work long periods without paying their wages. The company is also alleged to have threatened workers who sought to gain their wages and even dismissed and sent some of the workers back to Male’.