Kerala probing human trafficking through airports

A probe has been ordered into reports that human trafficking was taking place from three international airports of Kerala.

Thiruvananthapuram: A probe has been ordered into reports that human trafficking was taking place from three international airports of Kerala, from where passengers flew to Middle East without proper travel documents, Chief Minister Oomen Chandy said Monday.

Chandy informed the state assembly that an inquiry has been initiated into such reports where agents were running the racket by allegedly greasing the palms of unscrupulous police officials, who mann the emigration department.

"The state police will inquire into what happened when they were looking after the airport emigration and today all the emigration work is being done by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and we will ask them to conduct an inquiry since they took over," said Chandy.

Chandy was responding after the opposition members belonging to the Left parties alleged that human trafficking is rampant through the three airports.

"It was last week that reports surfaced that a Kerala Police constable A.P. Ajeeb posted at the emigration department at the Kochi airport was suspended following investigations that Rs.60 lakh was found in the bank account of his father," said Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) member P. Sreeramakrishnan.

"He (Ajeeb) for many years has been at the Kochi airport and has close links with other police officials attached to the emigration," Sreeramakrishnan said.

"Not less than 10,000 passengers from here - who include people from other states and even Sri Lanka - have gone through the Kerala airports by greasing the palms of the unscrupulous police officials who mann the emigration department in the recent years. A bribe of Rs.25,000 is collected from the passenger," added Sreeramakrishnan.

Recently there have been reports of women from Kerala having reached Middle East countries by greasing the palms of emigration officials and were trapped in flesh trade.

"We expect the director general of police (DGP) to submit his report on the human trafficking through the three airports in a matter of two weeks` time. I assure the house that we will deal with the report in the utmost seriousness because the pride of our women is at stake," assured state Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan.