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CBI busts human trafficking network sending Indians to Russia-Ukraine war zone


NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday said it has busted a major human trafficking network sending gullible youths to the Russia-Ukraine war zone after promising lucrative jobs abroad.

A senior CBI official said, “The suspected traffickers had been operating as an organised syndicate and were luring Indian nationals through social media channels like YouTube and others. They also contact such vulnerable youths through their local contacts/agents promising highly paid jobs in Russia.”

The trafficked Indian nationals were trained in combat roles and deployed at frontline bases in the Russia-Ukraine war zone against their wishes, putting their lives in grave danger, the official said, adding that it has been ascertained that some of the victims were grievously injured.

“In this regard, a case of human trafficking has been registered on March 6, 2024 against private visa consultancy firms and agents and others, who have been found engaged in trafficking of Indian nationals to Russia under the guise of better employment and high paying jobs. The human trafficking network of these agents is spread over several states across the country,” the official said.

“CBI is conducting simultaneous searches at around 13 locations in Delhi, Trivandrum, Mumbai, Ambala, Chandigarh, Madurai and Chennai,” the official said, adding that so far cash to the tune of over Rs 50 lakhs, incriminating documents and electronic devices like laptops, mobiles, desktops and CCTV footage have been seized,” the official said.

The official said some suspects have also been detained for questioning at various locations. So far, around 35 instances of victims sent abroad have been established and the identity of more trafficking victims is also being ascertained, he added, noting that the investigation in the case continues.