A Chennai-based international human trafficking racket could soon be busted with five youths from Sangli in western Maharashtra, returning after a 15-day nightmare in Malaysia, where they went as workers but lived as “slaves”.
Two men have been arrested from Sangli district, and three more — one from Chennai, two from Malaysia —have been booked for human trafficking and cheating, said District Superintendent of Police Krishna Prakash.
Five of the youths, who lived as slaves in a jungle 350 km from Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, were released when Maharashtra took up the issue with the Union government, which traced the victims with help from the Indian embassy in Malaysia, and sent them back home.
The youths, who landed in Chennai, told the media at least 20 such men, mostly Tamilian, have been victims of this racket.
Ganesh More, Rahul Jagdale, Ramesh Chavan, Rajesh Jagdale and Mahadeo Jagdale, all from Satara district, spoke of working as coolies and conservancy staff, given food once a day, after being promised jobs as computer operators and supervisors.
“All our documents, including passports and visas, were taken away. When we told them we wanted to return to India, one Battu Malai threatened us, saying only our bodies could go back to India,” said More, adding that they were ordered to work in a jungle in Joharberg in Malaysia.
In India, the youths had first approached Unique Placement, which had made job offers through an advertisement. The service is run by Dattatreya Dange and Dildar Shinde. Both have been arrested. The two allegedly took Rs 40,000 from each of the youths, and sent them to Chennai, where they were introduced to one Manivallam, who runs a company called Moneylogistic.
The youths signed an agreement, in which – they discovered only in Malaysia – they agreed to work as coolies and conservancy staff. The youths were offered a salary of Rs 35,000 a month. More, who managed to secretly carry a cellphone with him, contacted his family.
While a police team will soon be sent to Chennai, the police also plan to approach the Indian embassy in Malaysia for further legal action against the two accused.