Bizman held for ‘trafficking’ Punjabi kids - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Saturday, June 15, 2019

Bizman held for ‘trafficking’ Punjabi kids

Bizman held for ‘trafficking’ Punjabi kids

Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service
Mumbai, June 14

The Mumbai police have claimed a breakthrough in a major human trafficking racket involving children from Punjab following the arrest of a city-based transporter earlier this week.

The businessman was one of the key links between traffickers in Punjab and agents in Europe who helped children from the agrarian state to enter France illegally. “The traffickers exploited loopholes in French laws and got children to enter France illegally. Once the children turned 18, they would apply for citizenship under local laws,” a police official said.

The racket first came to light in 2017 when three persons, including a woman, were caught while trying to board an Ethiopian Airlines flight with four young boys, two of whom were 14 years of age. The children had visas for Bosnia and Herzegovina where they were ostensibly going to shoot for a film.

While two traffickers, Arif Farooki and Rajesh Pawar, posed as cameramen and guardians of the boys, their woman accomplice Fatema Fareed posed as their mother. The children were tutored to say that they were being cast in a film being shot abroad.

Immigration officials, who noticed the group moving suspiciously at the Sahar International Airport terminal, grilled them after which the racket came to light, a police official said. “All children had fake birth certificates and identity cards,” he added.

The police say the Mumbai-based businessman may have smuggled 20-30 minors from Punjab to France, Germany, Switzerland and other countries in Europe over the past few years.

Modus operandi

  • Children were being taken to France via Bosnia Herzgovina, where their passports and papers would be destroyed
  • They would then be sheltered in gurdwaras till they turned 18 after which they would apply for citizenship under local laws

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