In a significant move to address the growing concern of illegal trafficking of women to Middle-Eastern countries, the Punjab Police have formed a dedicated Special Investigation Team (SIT). The team’s primary objective is to investigate cases related to the trafficking of women, with a particular focus on the recent repatriation of 15 women from Oman. The SIT will be headed by Superintendent of Police Randhir Kumar, a seasoned officer known for his expertise in handling complex criminal cases.
The establishment of the SIT comes following the directive from the Director Bureau of Investigation, LK Yadav. To ensure seamless coordination in lodging First Information Reports (FIRs) across various districts of Punjab, Inspector General Kaustubh Sharma of the Ludhiana range has been appointed as the nodal officer. The SIT, under the leadership of SP Randhir Kumar, has been granted the authority to include additional members or engage local police officers to support the investigation in respective FIR jurisdictions.
The scope of the SIT’s mandate is clearly defined in the official orders. It is tasked with investigating complaints from women who have fallen victim to trafficking schemes that promise them respectable employment opportunities and fair wages. These victims are subsequently subjected to captivity, starvation, and a desperate struggle for survival. The orders emphasize the urgency of promptly registering FIRs for all such complaints without any delay.
An initial FIR has already been lodged at Ghall Khurd village in Ferozepur since May 2 against an agent involved in these heinous crimes. The agent faces charges under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 13 of the Punjab Travel Professionals (Regulation) Act.
Acknowledging the swift response by the Chief Minister and Director General of Police Gaurav Yadav, Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament Vikramjit Singh Sahney expressed his gratitude for establishing the SIT to address cases of human trafficking, especially those involving women from Punjab being trafficked to Middle-Eastern countries under visit or employment visas.
This SIT falls under the umbrella of “Mission Hope,” a recent initiative launched by Sahney, who serves as the international president of the World Punjabi Organisation (WPO). In collaboration with his parliamentary office and the WPO, Sahney has been providing support to victims in filing FIRs at various police stations and facilitating the rescue of stranded women. To further aid their efforts, Sahney has established four hotlines across Abu Dhabi, Oman, and India.
Sahney earnestly appeals to families of immigrants who are currently stranded in the Middle East to come forward and report their cases to the relevant police stations. By doing so, they play a crucial role in holding the guilty accountable for their actions.
In a bid to empower the affected women and their families, Sahney pledges to provide free skill training to those who return and facilitate sustainable and dignified employment opportunities for them within Punjab.
The police order reiterates the SIT’s central objective of investigating complaints filed by women who have been trafficked under false pretenses. These victims are lured into leaving India with promises of secure employment and fair wages, only to find themselves trapped, deprived of basic necessities, and forced to fight for survival. The prompt registration of FIRs is crucial in expediting the investigative process and bringing the perpetrators to justice.
As the SIT commences its crucial work, it is hoped that this concerted effort by the Punjab Police will not only rescue victims and punish those responsible, but also act as a deterrent against future instances of human trafficking. The success of these efforts will depend on the cooperation of the public and the commitment of all relevant stakeholders in eradicating this grave menace from society.