Govt cracks whip on agents | india | Hindustan Times
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Govt cracks whip on agents

india Updated: Apr 03, 2008 02:29 IST

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Alarmed at the rising incidents of poor women being forced into prostitution by organised gangs abroad, the government has decided to enforce fresh stringent restrictions on employers and agents to check exploitation.

The Ministry for Overseas Indian Affairs has finalised some steps, likely to be announced next week, that would ensure the safety of poor women going abroad for jobs, especially to the Gulf.

"We are taking steps to check that Indian women going abroad do not fall in wrong hands. The measures being taken include not to allow the women going for employment to travel alone outside the country, especially to the Gulf," said Vyalar Ravi, the Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs.

He said restrictions were being imposed on employers and agents for taking domestic servants abroad. "Now the employer would have to first convince the emigration authorities in writing, that they would provide good living conditions," Ravi said

Good living conditions for domestic servants would include a guaranteed monthly salary of $300-350 and a mobile phone with a limited number of calls, the minister said.

The minister said earlier unauthorised agents would overcome the restrictions by using different airports to send the women out and managing sponsored visas from their gang members in their countries of operation.

He asked the state governments to check the menace and ensure strict action against agents who send poor people, especially women, abroad, after charging hefty amounts for false employment promises.

“The recent incidents of women

being rescued from Muscat, Ukraine and Singapore are a wake-up call

for state governments. They should immediately prosecute the agents involved in the heinous crime of these cases of human trafficking,” the minister said.

Ravi said Punjab, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala were facing the problem of unauthorised agents duping the poor.

“We have written to these state governments, but the feedback has not been encouraging. I appeal to these states to put in place an effective prosecution machinery to check the thriving human trafficking rackets.”

The minister said he was waiting for figures from these states to assess the scale of the problem, “which was already giving the country a bad name in the world”.