India investigation agency uncovers alleged ‘human trafficking’ network with links to Russia – JURIST

Indian investigation agency Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) claimed Thursday to have uncovered an organized “human trafficking” network that lured Indian nationals with high-paying jobs to Russia. That same network is accused of later training and forcing victims to fight in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

The CBI, in a press release, stated that it uncovered a major human trafficking network operating nationwide, allegedly targeting unsuspecting Indian youths with promises of lucrative overseas employment. The agency claimed that these traffickers, using social media platforms like YouTube and local agents, enticed Indian nationals with high-paying jobs in Russia. However, victims were instead allegedly trained for combat roles and forcibly deployed to the Russia-Ukraine war zone, endangering their lives. The agency also added, “It has been ascertained that some of the victims also got grievously injured in the war zone.”

The agency further stated that a case was registered against private Visa Consultancy Firms and agents involved. Furthermore, simultaneous searches at 13 locations reportedly yielded incriminating evidence, including cash, documents and electronic records. CBI allegedly confirmed over 35 instances of victims trafficking, with investigations ongoing to identify more victims.

The agency added, “An appeal is made to the general public not to fall prey for such false promises of jobs by the dubious recruitment agencies and agents.”

This report comes in the aftermath of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal’s statement from February 23, which asked Russia for the early release of Indian nationals working in “support jobs” for the Russian army. The statement stated that the Indian Embassy has consistently raised concerns with Russian authorities regarding their release. Furthermore, Indians were advised to exercise caution and refrain from involvement in the conflict in the statement.

India has maintained a neutral stance in the Russia-Ukraine war. Jaiswal emphasized India’s neutral stance on the ongoing war in a media briefing on February 8, stressing the importance of dialogue, diplomacy and humanitarian support for Ukraine. He further stated India advocates for peaceful resolution through dialogue and encourages all parties to engage in discussions to move forward.

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