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Human Trafficking Gangs Targetting Punjabi Women

women trafficking in punjab

Babra Wani | A human trafficking scandal came into the limelight after a woman from Punjab posted a video on social media narrating her ordeal of how she was deceived by an agent on the pretext of providing a job to her in Europe.

In the video, the woman can be seen saying, “I have been held captive in Cyprus by an agent named Sandeep Aujla, alias Kaifi. My family has no idea about my real situation. If something untoward happens to me, then he should be held responsible.”

The woman got in touch with Kaifi, a travel agent to travel abroad to find a job but to her utter disbelief, he was actually using her in human trafficking.

This however is not the story of just this woman alone according to a report by Vice World News. A Punjabi rights activist based in Spain, Amrik Singh told Vice that he has saved over a hundred women from human traffickers. He also lamented the fact that all the victims of human trafficking have this same story, all contacted travel agents and landed in Europe for jobs but found themselves actually trafficked.

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Punjabi Women Trafficking issue

Vice World News quoted him saying, “I found that her social media accounts were deleted soon after the video came out and her phone is switched off, which makes it harder for us to trace her. God knows where she is, but I am confident that we will find her.”

Singh also told Vice World News that more Punjabi women were traveling through agents in the past ten years and that more were becoming victims of traffickers based on the rescues his network had conducted. Prior to 2010, women from the state made up 12% of trafficking victims; today, he added, nearly one in four of those trafficked from Punjab are women.

The report also claimed that in a recent parliamentary debate, the Indian home minister asserted that there had been no trafficking convictions nationwide in 2020; rather, all cases had ended in acquittals or discharges. According to India’s national crime statistics, 11 distinct cases involving 15 women from Punjab were trafficked in 2020. However, just two cases—neither of which resulted in convictions—were handled as criminal offenses.

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Punjab is an agricultural state that has witnessed a steep rise in unemployment. The people, youth in particular who include men and women both then try their luck abroad in search of jobs. But often end up falling prey to these human trafficking gangs. According to several reports, Punjabi men are also trafficked but that is often reported but since the case of women is “stigmatized” such cases seldom grab the attention. However with this video which has surfaced online a whole new dimension of human trafficking has come to light.

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