All the women are lured by the promise of easy money, only to realise once they reach their destination, that they have been 'sold off' as nothing more than domestic slaves.

Tortured in the Middle East The human trafficking nexus in Hyderabad
Delve Human Trafficking Sunday, September 30, 2018 - 15:00

The slums in Hyderabad’s old city area are a fertile ground for agents, mostly men, who are on the lookout for vulnerable women, to trap into the massive human trafficking nexus that takes place in the city. The vulnerable women could include widows, women with alcoholic husbands, women with pending loans or even medical ailments.

These agents then recruit 'sub-agents', mostly women, whose job it is to convince the identified lady to hand over her documents and travel to the Middle East.

Government documents are prepared, including Aadhar cards, Voter ID cards, passports and a visa is issued, generally in Mumbai. From Mumbai, the women are flown to Dubai, where the immigration process is completed, before they are transported to their real destination.

All the women are lured by the promise of easy money, only to realise once they reach their destination, that they have been 'sold off' as nothing more than domestic slaves. The entire trafficking ring involves both foreign nationals and Indians living in Hyderabad and abroad.

India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has laid down several strict guidelines for citizens who wish to travel to foreign countries for work.

For example, the 'khadama' visa (a visa for domestic help) has been banned for a few years now. This is where agents come in and exploit loopholes.

While the younger women are lured under promises of being hired as beauticians, the older women are usually told they have to work as nurses.

Besides physically and sexual assaulting the women, the employers also do not let them step out of the house. If the women manage to run away, a case of theft is filed and the victim often spends months in jail before she is rescued.

Though senior police officers have been working keenly on such cases, a lot of work is yet to be done as some victims allege that lower-level police officers often try to ‘settle’ cases between the agent and the families.

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