Indian, UAE police fight human trafficking, illegal migration

June 18th, 2008 - 8:25 pm ICT by IANS  

By Aroonim Bhuyan
Dubai, June 18 (IANS) A nodal police officer in Kerala has been working in coordination with police in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to check human trafficking and illegal migration. “A nodal police officer appointed by the Indian government and based in Kerala is working in coordination with police in the UAE to check human trafficking and illegal migration,” India’s Consul General in Dubai Venu Rajamony said at a conference on labour management in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries here Wednesday.

“Through this system, we can ask police in the UAE to conduct raids to bust human trafficking and illegal migration rackets,” he said.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the conference later, Rajamony said the nodal officer in India was appointed around a year back following a visit of Kerala’s home minister to the UAE.

“We took up the issue from there and the officer was appointed. The reason he has been based in Kerala is because most of the migration from India to the UAE takes place from Kerala,” he said.

Asked if similar officers would also be appointed in other major labour exporting states in India, he said, “Not nodal police officers. The Ministry of External Affairs’ representatives in Hyderabad (in Andhra Pradesh) and Chennai (in Tamil Nadu) are working in coordination with the officer in Kerala.”

Earlier, during the course of a presentation on ‘India-UAE Labour Relations: Striving for a Partnership and Win-win Situations’ at the conference, the consul general said that India was taking a very pro-active approach to make migration an orderly process.

“To this end the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA) was created with its minister holding the cabinet rank,” he said.

The MOIA, he said, was taking several steps to promote legal migration and prevent illegal migration.

“Stringent penalties are imposed on those indulging in human smuggling. In 2007 alone, the licences of six RAs (recruiting agents) were cancelled and efforts are on to make the RA system professional and acceptable to all stakeholders,” he added.

He said the MOIA had taken several steps to prevent abuse of Indian domestic maids abroad.

“The minimum wage of Indian domestic maids in the UAE has been fixed at $300 a month and the minimum age for domestic maids seeking employment abroad has been fixed at 30,” Rajamony said.

“Also, employers of such maids here have to make a security deposit of $2,500 and provide a SIM card to the maid. Our missions here run a 24×7 helpline to help domestic maids in distress.”

He added that the Indian government had started a compulsory insurance scheme for all workers going abroad.

“Those workers who are already in the UAE but have not insured can now do so with low premium amounts through Indian insurance schemes,” he said.

India is also implementing the e-governance process in its migration system and efforts are on to link the databases of India and the UAE, the consul general said.

“Also, the Indian government has launched a pre-departure orientation programme for workers planning to migrate to enhance their skills. In the last one year, 15,000 persons were trained under this programme and goal is to train 160,000 persons in the next five years,” he said.

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