The Bureau of Immigration has unearthed a new method of human smuggling that uses European sporting events to traffic teenagers in as participants only to leave them in the host country (file pic)
The Bureau of Immigration and the Delhi Police have unearthed a new method of human smuggling that uses European sporting events to traffic teenagers in as participants, only to leave them in the host country to seek asylum.
The sleuths have zeroed-in on at least three such recent cases where ‘human carriers’ took 36 children to France and Germany as sports-persons, by using forged travel documents and fake invitations, but returned to India without the children.
Requesting anonymity, Officials from the Bureau of Immigration told Mail Today: “Right now any group of children travelling to participate at any event in European countries is under strict scrutiny.
“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 livelihoods.”
According to the officials, once these children reach the desired destination, they destroy every document that may reveal their Indian citizenship.
“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,” according to the officials.
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 none of the participants had returned.
Their suspicions were confirmed when Delhi Police received a complaint from the Embassy of Germany concerning 10 people, including half a dozen children, using forged documents to travel to Hachen, Germany for a jiu jitsu summer camp.
Subsequently, immigration officials at the airport were alerted to keep a close watch on any such groups.
Delhi Police received a complaint from the Embassy of Germany against ten people, including half a dozen children using forged documents to travel to Hachen, Germany for a jiu jitsu summer camp (file pic)
In the complaint, the embassy wrote: “It is suspected that (traffickers) use 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 take 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.
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.
Normally, human smuggling networks charge Rs 20-35 lakh to export one person to a European country.