Hyderabad: Migrant trafficking stuns cops

newsimageThe arrest of five persons involved in cheating job aspirants to Gulf countries and later ‘sell’ them to local agencies. Hyderabad: The arrest of five persons involved in cheating job aspirants to Gulf countries and later ‘sell’ them to local agencies has shocked the police and rights activists. In earlier incidents, job consultancies had tied up with agents and set up networks to lure vulnerable people with job offers in the Gulf, but this case has brought into light how migrants settled abroad for a long period are themselves exploiting the needy persons, most of them from known circles and villages. Police said the recent case must be treated seriously and activists say that investigations must carry out to dig into the entire chain of persons involved, including government officials at any stage. Trafficking people to Gulf countries under the guise of jobs is not a new phenomenon — it was done by organised agents who operated from offices and made the victims believe that they had valid licences to send manpower abroad. In such incidents, cases were registered and their offices and consultancies were raided. It was relatively easy for the cops to keep a vigil on them and their activities. But in this case, migrant workers settled in Dubai are operating their own networks and trafficking people. “One person operates only in Kamareddy district, while the others have distributed the villages among themselves to scout for candidates. They have their own strongly built network, which is quite difficult to track,” an official said. M. Bheem Reddy from Pravasi Mitra, a Migrant Rights Organisation, said that the illegal trafficking was the result of lack of an adequate number of licensed agents in rural communities. Out of around 1,200 licensed agents in the country, more than 500 are located in Mumbai and the rest are distributed in other Metros. The government only recently reduced the licence fee for authorised agents from an exorbitant Rs 50 lakh to Rs 8 lakh. “We welcome the move by the Centre to lower the fee as it encourages agents to regularise their business and not send people abroad illegally,” Mr Reddy said. “Most of the time, the sub-agents who get a meagre commission are caught while the main culprits carry on business by employing other sub-agents,” he said. Police plans crackdown on human trafficking To crack the whip on human trafficking, the Rachakonda police is chalking out plans to nab the agents holed up in the Gulf countries in coordination with the ministry of external affairs. Though it’s a time-consuming affair, the police plans to unearth a major racket by this initiative. On Friday, the police arrested five job racket agents for trafficking aspirants to the Gulf countries. A senior police official stated that they have already started talks with the ministry. “The ministry will coordinate with the embassies to nab the absconding suspects,” he said. Another task before the cops here is to trace the suspects in AP. Around ten of them are absconding. “We will send a list of the absconding suspects in AP to the AP police. They will further conduct the inquiry,” official said.