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Human trafficking: Punjab teen rescued from Dubai, returns home

Sushma Swaraj terms it serious case of human trafficking, asks Capt to take action against illegal agents

punjab Updated: Jul 31, 2018 13:34 IST
Surjit Singh
Surjit Singh
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
Human trafficking,Tarn Taran teen,Dubai
Simranjit landed at the Amritsar airport at 1.30pm on Sunday, but Punjab Police did not hand her over her to her relatives immediately. The police questioned her for over three hours to get details of the agent who sent her to Dubai. (HT Photo)

When 19-year-old Simranjit Kaur of Pandori Gola village in Tarn Taran district boarded a flight to Dubai on Thursday, little did she know that she will be the latest victim of human trafficking in the United Aran Emirates (UAE).

But Simranjit considers herself lucky as she was rescued by officials of the Indian consulate in the UAE and was flown back home on Sunday.

India, particularly Punjab, is a transit hub for human trafficking to the UAE where gullible youths are subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Enthusiasm of Punjabis to migrate to affluent countries gives traffickers an opportunity to exploit them. Using diverse modus operandi, agents often put lives of their clients in danger. Failure in reaching their promised destination leads to deportation, exploitation, indebtedness, imprisonment and even death.

Monica Sharma, who is known to the family, suspected it to be a case of human trafficking and informed about Simranjit to external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on Twitter. She also got in touch with her acquaintances Dubai. Swaraj was quick to respond and ordered consulate officials in Dubai to trace Simranjit and take action against the man who took her to the Gulf country.

Simranjit landed at the Amritsar airport at 1.30pm on Sunday, but Punjab Police did not hand her over her to her relatives immediately. The police questioned her for over three hours to get details of the agent who sent her to Dubai. Senior police officials, including commissioner of police SS Srivastava were also present. Later in the evening, the Tarn Taran police handed her over to the family.

“A woman of our village introduced us to Yusuf Pallam Ibrahim some 15 days ago who told us that he has come from Dubai and girls are needed for nanny’s job in the Gulf country. He told us that he would get our daughter paid 5,000 dirhams (approximately ₹93,000) per month. So, we decided to send her there due to poor financial condition of our family. The agent charged ₹25,000 from us to arrange for her ticket and job in Dubai,” said Simranjit’s mother Surinder Kaur.

“After going to Dubai, she talked to me over phone and told that the agent was not providing her the job. Then she told that the agent sent her to a house for three-day training. Suspecting that she would be made slave there, we approached our acquaintances who have connection in Dubai. They made efforts in tracing out daughter,” she said.

After Simranjit was rescued in Dubai, Sushma twitted to Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh: “@capt_amarinder I am happy to inform that Simran has been rescued. We are flying her back to India. She will be reaching Amritsar on 29th July 2018. I very much appreciate the efforts of @cgidubai and Mr Roop Sidhu, General Secretary Indian Assn Ajman.”

In another tweet, the Union minister asked Amarinder for stringent action against agents. “@capt_amarinder please call Simran and listen to her traumatic experience. She should be able to reveal the whole racket of human trafficking in Punjab. I again request you to please take very stringent action against these agents.”

Replying to her tweet, Amarinder said: “Will personally look into the matter @SushmaSwaraj ji and ensure the most stringent action against the agents responsible for the heinous crime. Will keep you updated.”

Thanking Swaraj for help, Monica said she came to know about the case through her brother’s friends at Pandori Gola village. “The girl went there on a visitor’s visa. Apart from informing the minister, I got in touch with Indian embassies in Dubai and Oman to know her whereabouts. Finally, the Indian embassy cleared that she was in Dubai,” said Monica.

Two more girls back

Besides Simranjit, two more girls, Sandeep Kaur of Pandori Gola village, and Ravneet Kaur of Sheron village in Tarn Taran district also went to Dubai through an agent on July 20 and July 18. After witnessing illicit practice at the office of the agent, they returned after spending five days in the Gulf country. For bringing them back, their families had to pay extra money to the agent.

Conduct arrested, hunt on to nab agent

Acting swiftly on the directives of the chief minister following Sushma Swaraj’s tweet to act against the travel agent, Punjab Police on Sunday cracked down on the suspects involved in the trafficking of Simranjit Kaur. Gurjit Kaur, the conduit who had allegedly allured Simranjit into the net of the travel agent, has been arrested. A hunt has been launched for the travel agent, identified as Ibrahim Palam Yusuf, a resident of Kerala, currently suspected to be in Dubai, DGP Suresh Arora informed the CM on Sunday evening. A lookout notice is being issued for Yusuf, said the DGP. A case under Section 13 of the Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling Act has been registered at against Yusuf and Gurjit. HTC

First Published: Jul 29, 2018 20:42 IST