CBI registers two cases of illegal trafficking of minors to US, Kenya

New Delhi | The CBI has registered two separate cases of illegal trafficking of women and children to the United States of America and Kenya, officials said on Friday.

They said the first case has been registered on a complaint from the US embassy which reported that an attempt was made by a woman Gagan Gupta, in August last year, to take four minor children to that country allegedly using assumed identities of four students of St Joseph’s Convent in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar district in Punjab.

The passports of the students were given to the children who were alleged to be trafficked to the United States, the inquiry found.

The embassy said that the staff of United Airlines-83 flight stopped them from boarding the flight as the faces of four children did not match with their photographs in the passport, they said.

However, their passports were not seized and they were allowed to leave the Indira Gandhi International Airport, the officials said.

The airline staff did not contact the local police but it provided photos of the minor subjects, of the passports and the airline tickets to the embassy officials, they said.

During an inquiry by the embassy, it surfaced visas issued to the kids were part of a school group from St Joseph Convent for which a trip to the United States was organised by Click Education Services Pvt Limited.

The school was allegedly sending its students for a cultural trip to the US for which the passports of student and staff were collected by an agent promising them to help in the visa process.

The agent allegedly tried to send four of its clients on the assumed identity by providing them passports of the students to whom the visas were issued for the cultural trip.

The embassy officials managed to locate one of the children in Hoshiarpur who was attempting to travel on an assumed identity.

During the inquiry his father admitted that an agent Balraj Khera of Kings Punjab Travel had allegedly demanded Rs 30.05 lakh from him if his son is successfully able to reach the US, the complaint alleged.

Based on the complaint received in February this year, the CBI started its preliminary enquiry which found that Gagan Gupta was allegedly attempting to traffic four children under assumed identities and passports of four students of St Joseph’s Convent aged 13-15 years.

The passports of four school children studying in St Joseph’s Convent in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (formerly Nawanshahr) district in Punjab were given to the children who were alleged to be trafficked to the United States, the inquiry found.

Gupta allegedly misrepresented her self as the Principal of the school, he said.

The principal of the school told the CBI that an agent Chetan Sabharwal had approached his school for facilitating the cultural trip and kept passports of teachers, students in his possession during the visa process.

Following the enquiry the CBI has booked, agents Balraj Khera of Kings Punjab Travels in Jalandhar, Gagan Gupta, a resident of Pathankot in Gurdaspur district, Chetan Sabharwal of Click Education Services, Chandigarh, his employee Lovepreet Singh and Tilak Raj.

The second case has been registered on a complaint from the External Affairs Ministry that Indian embassy in Nairobi, Kenya has rescued three young girls who were allegedly trafficked to Mombassa on the pretext of giving employment as dancers but were coerced into prostitution,

The girls were taken to Nairobi by Shama Javaid Deen, a Kenyan national and an agent Aryan who allegedly ran an “organised crime syndicate” which involved her family members too.

“It appears that the above mentioned persons are running a human trafficking network by pushing young Indian girls into prostitution abroad with a false promise of good job and salary”, Col Rahul Dutt, Director (Overseas Employment) said in a complaint in March 2018.

The complaint said that the girls were rescued during a raid by Kenyan police special cell last year in a dance bar from where these girls were rescued and were brought to Delhi on January 2, 2018.

“They were forced to consume alcohol and smoke against their will and were also being coerced to enter into prostitution. They were being physically and mentally tortured and threatened not to inform anybody otherwise they would be implicated in false cases,” it said.

After conducting a preliminary enquiry, the agency registered a case of criminal conspiracy and sexual exploitation under immoral trafficking prevention act against a Ludhiana based agent Kala alias Emmanuel Masih and a Delhi based agent Aryan.

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