CIMS Kerala - Tracing Missing Migrants

Tracing Missing Migrants

One of the major work that CIMS have taken up since its launch is tracing the migrants who have gone missing in foreign countries. Indian migrants, majorly in the Gulf States become missing as a result of weak laws that often disregard the rights of migrant workers. The Kafala System practiced in many of the Gulf and African States gives rise to modern-day slavery, leading to the exploitation and abuse of the migrant labourers by their employers. Over the years, CIMS have attended cases where the migrant workers, especially domestic workers who undergo missing were put under house-arrest by their employers without letting them go out or contact families. Many migrant workers choose to abscond because of severe abuse by their employers. There are also cases where the missing migrants were found to be jailed in the destination countries or found dead.

CIMS has many success stories of not only finding the missing migrants, but also helping them return to India with the help of the expatriate community. Our network includes Kerala migrants who volunteered themselves to support the activities of CIMS. Since 2000, we had developed a strong network of more than 30 volunteers in destination countries, mainly in the GCC countries. The network is growing and CIMS is expanding its services to Europe and other parts of Asia.

Until 2020, 1635 cases were handled by CIMS during its past 20 years’ journey and 727 cases are tagged in the title of ‘still missing’ as those cases were challenging due to lack of information or else. Many of the still missing cases were reported from Saudi Arabia. Most of the victims included semi-skilled or unskilled categories. Majority of them were cheated by agents who act as a ‘helping hand’ and exploited by sponsors living abroad. Some of them were missing for unknown reasons while other cases were related to financial issues faced by them.

The attended cases can be divided under three categories titled ‘Resolved’, ‘Unresolved’ and ‘Unknown’. There are 1293 cases resolved due to the intervention of CIMS, marking glorious victory in the pages of our investigation diary. All of those cases were settled - 613 found; 146 communicated; 49 repatriated; 67 returned and 418 returned to their homeland. We found out the nature and status of 191 cases which was unknown to their families and tried our best to resolve it. Some of them were imprisoned in jail (35), purposefully hiding (58) due to family dispute and killed in accident/dead/murdered (33). Unfortunately, Pravasalokam failed to find out the event results of 31 cases and was not able to provide any kind of compensation (11) from the authorities to some accident and death cases and a number of still missing cases (727) are also there in our responsibility baggage.

The documentation of these categories is not an easy job to do. The research assistants have to dig deep to get information about migrants, especially the missing migrants. The family members may not have any idea about personal information of the person. So, documentation of the cases is the first and most important activity taken place at CIMS. Followed by the documentation, the next activity is the follow-up after the telecast through Pravasalokam. Most of the cases are identified within a short span of time. Once the status of the victim is identified, CIMS team start identifying the legal ways in which migrant in distress can be rescued. We co-ordinate the efforts involving volunteers, occasionally embassy officials and other well-wishers to bring back the migrant back home. The advantage of institutionalising this process is that the chance of bringing back the migrant increased drastically. CIMS does not stop its endeavour after bringing the migrant back, we also help them in case-filing.

Some of the major cases handled by CIMS can be accessed at the links below:

Hari Kumar Manikam Pillai

Place :Palakkad, Kerala

Missing From : Saudi Arabia

Event Title : Purposefully hiding

Date of Telecast : 04/07/2019

Episode Number : 944 B

Occupation : Electrician

Event Result : Purposefully hiding

Noorjahan Abdul

Place :,

Missing From :

Event Title : House Arrest

Date of Telecast :

Episode Number : 937 A

Occupation :

Event Result :

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