The Indians on reaching Ecuador remained locked in hotels and boarding houses before they were arrested.
Despite the Trump administration clamping down on illegal immigrants, the human smugglers have hiked their rates to smuggle humans inside the US. Now, the only difference is the handling charges which have gone up — between $ 45,000 to $ 60, 000 is for any Indian who wants to reach their land of dreams: United States of America.
A top Indian diplomat confirmed to Financial Express Online that this May, three Ecuadorians, and three Indians were arrested in Guayaquil, Ecuador after raids were carried out by the Anti-kidnapping and Extortion Unit of the Police of that country.
“Those arrested informed the authorities that through the FaceBook platform, they offered work in the US to Indian citizens, and before that they had to travel to Ecuador.”
The Indians on reaching Ecuador remained locked in hotels and boarding houses before they were arrested. They were supposed to be given an Ecuadorian identification card and to manage the rest of the documents to enter the US, and they asked for between $5,000 and $10,000, in addition to a similar amount that they had paid before traveling.
The Indian Embassy in Colombia also accredited to Ecuador told the Financial Express Online the following regarding human trafficking incidents involving Indians:
How many Indians have been arrested so far?
As per the information available with Embassy, since 2017, nine Indian nationals have been arrested and jailed on various charges such as illegal trafficking of migrants, fake documents, the kidnapping of Indian nationals, extortion, drug trafficking. The victims and local Indians mainly hail from Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra.
Are they used for narco-trading or do they just sit and wait to be transported to North America?
Out of the 9 cases, only one was arrested on the charges narco-trafficking – carrying Heroin and Cocaine Hydrochloride. The remaining were arrested on charges of illegal immigrant trafficking and false documents.
Has the Embassy encountered these handlers or the men who lure Indians?
Yes, recently Embassy received complaints from few Indians in Ecuador that they were cheated/lured by Dhanaraju Kata and his aides by giving false promises of sending Indians to the US for jobs through Ecuador, and also few people to get Investor visa to get settled in Ecuador.
Are they travel agents or are they, traffickers?
Few people have agency Named KVR HR Solutions, India and they lure Indians who want to migrate to the US, Canada by easy means, through FaceBook and WhatsApp and others are traffickers.
Have the numbers gone up or down since 2014?
The number of people at any time in jails has almost been the same from 4-6 for the last several years.
Are there only men or women too?
There was a case of only one woman, Ms. Amandeep Kaur Amritsar Rural, Punjab who was arrested on the charges narco-trafficking for carrying Heroin and Cocaine Hydrochloride.
Is it limited to Ecuador or Colombia too?
All the cases are from Ecuador only. No cases have been reported from Colombia. However, Colombia is the transit point for those arriving in Ecuador to migrate to the US.
What are the steps are taken to deal with this?
The Embassy has taken several steps in the last two years.
1) Consular officers regularly visit Ecuador and meet the prisoners to understand their problems.
2) Issue/renew travel documents as and when needed to facilitate their return to India.
3) Embassy advises them to contact local police
4) The embassy also pursues the agents involved in India in these criminal acts
5) The embassy also urges Ecuador to take action against local agents
Does the trafficker normally make all the travel arrangements and pay for all the travel costs?
The trafficker does not pay for any travel costs and everything is paid by the victims only. The traffickers make the hotel reservations in Ecuador only and receive the victims at the airport to put them up in hotels. Their passports are taken away by local agents on the pretext of visa. The agents abandon leave them and disappear, leaving the victims without money and all costs are met by victims.
Can a trafficking victim be a family member?
No, no such incident has come to notice of the Embassy till now.