Saturday, July 19, 2008

Trafficking Between Britian and India

From Thaindian News:

The latest sting operation on illegal immigrants in Britain has exposed a well-oiled network in human trafficking from Punjab, but the state authorities do not seem bothered about taking corrective measures at the ground level, say those involved in highlighting the fraud. Despite scores of tragic stories every month of men, women and even children being trafficked, the number of illegal immigrants from Punjab continues to rise.

Congress legislator from Qila Raipur, Jassi Khangura, who gave up his British citizenship in 2006 to come back to Punjab, says the state government lacks the will power to stop illegal immigration. Khangura has been involved with several activities to curb illegal immigration.

“The BBC investigation has shown how sophisticated the network is. The Indian and British governments have to initiate action at their respective ends. Effective measures need to be taken on the Indian side,” Khangura said.

In an undercover investigation in Britain, the BBC has exposed a London-based criminal network that used fake passports, identity documents and human carriers to bring in illegal migrants, mostly from Punjab, into Britain.

These immigrants were settled in around 40 safe houses in Southall, home to a large concentration of immigrants from India. Nearly all of the illegal migrants - called “faujis” in criminal parlance - are said to be from Punjab.

Khangura told IANS here: “Given my experience, this illegal immigration is going to create such a mess that the British and other authorities will become very strict about immigration, and the genuine people will suffer.”

“Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and the Punjab Police know of the brokers in all corners of the state but don’t want to take action. It is not difficult to identify people who are playing fraud with hundreds of youths by taking millions of rupees with the promise of taking them to western countries,” he added.

The two passport offices at Chandigarh and Jalandhar, which cater to the state, and the latest one at Amritsar which opened this month, are already termed as “passport factories”. The Chandigarh and Jalandhar passport offices churned out 350,000 passports in 2007.

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