Mumbai: 2 in 5 foreigners charged in human trafficking, forced cyber fraud case | Bombay News

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday indicted five accused, including two foreign nationals, in a case involving human trafficking and cyber fraud syndicates operating inside and outside the country.

Two of the accused, Jerry Jacob and Godfrey Alvares, are under arrest and three others, Sunny Gonsalves and foreign nationals Niu Niu and Elvis Du, are still at large.

The chargesheet filed before a special NIA court in Mumbai revealed the involvement of several foreign nationals in the case which the agency is investigating.

According to the NIA investigation, the accused targeted young Indians with computer and English skills, and forced them to work in fraudulent call centers on tourist visas for monetary gains.

Victims were recruited, transported and transferred from India to the Golden Triangle SEZ in Laos via Thailand. Upon arrival, the victims were trained in the use of Facebook, Telegram, the basics of cryptocurrency and how to handle applications created by the fraudulent company.

The syndicates have also resorted to victim control tactics in case one of the young victims of trafficking refuses to continue their online fraud work. These tactics included isolation and restriction of movement, confiscation of personal travel documents and physical violence, arbitrary fines, death threats, threats of rape in the case of women, threat of appearance in false drug case at the local police station, an officer said.

According to the indictment, the defendant even deleted data from the victims' cell phones to destroy evidence. Victims were threatened if they spoke to the embassy or relevant local authorities, an official said.

He added that in some cases victims were held in fraudulent compounds, confined without food for three to seven days and tortured if they refused to work.

They were released only after extraction of extortion payments, ranging from Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 1,80,000, or intervention of the Indian Embassy in Laos on the complaints filed by the victims.

Further investigations are underway to uncover the entire racket and identify the other accused involved, the official added.

© The Indian Express Pvt Ltd

First published online on: 21-06-2024 at 22:47 IST

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