HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

US implies Indian govt party to human trafficking

Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 07, 2014
First Published: 00:42 IST(7/1/2014) | Last Updated: 00:45 IST(7/1/2014)

Raising the pitch, New Delhi has questioned the motive of the US government in making the maidservant of diplomat Devyani Khobragade — charged with visa fraud and underpaying her nanny — a victim of trafficking, which by implication meant government of India was party to it.

In a serious charge, New Delhi has conveyed to Washington that the way the family of the maidservant Sangeeta Richard was evacuated from India just before the diplomat’s arrest on December 12 on T visas — given to the kith and kin of the trafficked persons — and air tickets purchased by the US government further adds to the "doubtful motives of the US."

Sangeeta Richard, nanny of Khobragade had traveled to US on an official passport and her visa was granted on a note from the ministry of external affairs.  Indian side also pointed out that the definition of trafficking under the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons¸ adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2000 and entered into force on 25 December 2003.

In New Delhi’s opinion, there are no grounds whatsoever to support US claims that Richard is a victim of human trafficking.

India side cites that the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines Trafficking in Persons as "the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability…"

In Richard’s case, she travelled to the US on an official passport under an employment contract "signed by her voluntarily".

US embassy in New Delhi didn’t respond to an email from HT seeking its views on the Indian charges.

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