BUSTED: How gangs use sports tournaments as cover to smuggle children to Europe

first_imgThe Bureau of Immigration and Delhi Police have come across a new modus operandi of human smuggling racket that uses sporting events in various European countries to traffic teenagers as participants and leave them back to seek asylum and citizenship.THE MODUS OPERANDIThe sleuths have zeroed in on at least three such recent cases where ‘human carriers’ took about 36 children to France and Germany as sportspersons, by using forged travel documents and fake invitations from the event organisers, but returned India without them.”Right now any group of children travelling to participate at any event in European countries is under strict scrutiny,” officials in the Bureau of Immigration told Mail Today, requesting anonymity. “These kids are in the age-group of 12-17 and the gangs charge hefty amounts from their families for sending them to western countries for better livelihood.According to the officials, once these children reach the desired destination, they first destroy every document that may reveal their Indian citizenship.ALSO READ: Bengaluru: Human trafficking racket busted, three girls rescued from brothelTHE NEW ASYLUM SEEKERS”After that they apply for asylum on humanitarian grounds and till the time a decision is taken on their plea, they find means to stay there.”The matter came to light when two groups of sports boys flew to Europe in close succession and when the bureau checked their travel records, it was revealed that except those herding the batch, none of the participants had returned.Their suspicions were confirmed when Delhi Police received a complaint from Embassy of Germany against seven people, including three-four children, trying to travel to Germany to attend a summer camp of jiu jitsu martial arts to be held in Hachen on forged documents. Subsequently, immigration officials at the airport were alerted to keep a close watch on any such groups.advertisementALSO READ: Delhi: How a former sex worker ran a child trafficking racket worth crores In the complaint, the embassy wrote: “It is suspected that Mr Lalit Dean is a human trafficker of a high level. He is using sports events in Europe and Schengen countries to apply for visas and smuggle children to Europe.”According to the complaint, the invitation to attend the martial arts training camp in Hachen/Germany was a counterfeit as the invitation was genuinely issued for a group in Algeria. All the children who applied had never travelled before or had any idea about jiu jitsu.In February, a similar complaint was made by French embassy against the same trafficking network when it tried to took 25 children to Paris to attend a rugby event. During an internal investigation, embassy officials found that apart from three carriers, none of the participant returned. Lalit Dean was involved in this case as well.When Dean was asked to come to embassy in person, he withdrew the application.Sources in the bureau they were in the process of preparing a list of those children who managed to travel to destination countries along with their team leaders so that local police can verify whether they have returned or not.HUMAN SMUGGLING RACKETNormally, human smuggling networks charge Rs 20-35 lakh to export one person to a European country. “The amounts include temporary accommodation as well, and in some cases local transportation and jobs. The charges would bring three attempts to travel abroad including handling of any legal case if need be,” bureau official said.The laws to curb human smuggling are largely focused on the apprehension and deportation of individual migrants. According to the UN office, “tackling migrant smuggling necessitates a comprehensive, multi-dimensional response, which begins with addressing the socio-economic root causes of irregular migration to prevent it, and goes through to prosecution of criminals who commit smuggling-related crimes”.ALSO READ:India unveils first-ever comprehensive draft law on human traffickinglast_img

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