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Tuesday, July 10 , 2012 - 06.40 GMT
Human traffickers lure SL refugees with package deals - report


Human traffickers in Tamil Nadu are offering attractive package deals to the inmates of the refugee camps—like take a cousin along and you get concession on the fare, and you could pay half on reaching the destination, the Asian Age reported.

According to the report the preferred launching points for these boats include Mangalore, Munambam (Kochi), Kollam, Kanyakumari, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Pondicherry, Chennai and Vizag (Andhra Pradesh).

“While we manage to get many of these boats before they hit the deep sea, some manage to slip through. Their human cargo then is at the mercy of the ocean since most boats are unfit for the long journey”, said an intelligence officer, requesting anonymity.

After gathering enough number of asylum seekers and collecting the initial payment, ranging between INR 50,000 and INR 1 lakh, from each of them, the agents would scout for buying a fishing trawler, usually costing about 14-15 lakh Indian rupees.

Sources in the trafficking mafia revealed that the boats were usually procured in Kochi, Kollam or Kanyakumari. “Normally metal-bottomed boats are preferred as they would withstand the rough seas. Modifications are made to accommodate women and children by providing toilets, storage for food and drinking water, because a normal voyage takes over 20 days. Navigational systems such as GPS and satellite communication sets would also be taken. Ex-cadres of Sea Tigers are preferred because they are good at navigation, aware of the sea-lanes and are often asylum seekers themselves, so their services come free for the agent”, a source said.

“On reaching the coast of Christmas Island or Cocos Islands, the drivers would damage the boat engine—to prevent being sent back to India—and anchor. The navigational equipment too would be discarded after sending a SOS to the Australian authorities. The Australian navy would arrive and after screening, would send the boat people to refugee settlement camps where they would stay for about six months. Depending on their good behaviour in the camps, they would be admitted into Australia”, the source said.




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Last modified: July 11, 2012.

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