Tamil Nadu issues advisory to youth seeking overseas jobs amid rising employment scams

The advisory was issued in the wake of rescue of 83 Tamil youths from Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar, where they were taken on tourist visas promising jobs and later forced to engage in 'illegal online activities.'

BySouth First Desk

Published May 27, 2024 | 1:35 PMUpdatedMay 27, 2024 | 1:35 PM

Human trafficking

The Tamil Nadu government on Sunday, 26 May, appealed to youth seeking employment abroad, particularly in South East Asian countries, to thoroughly verify the antecedents of recruitment agents and companies before applying for a job.

The advisory was issued in the wake of rescue of 83 Tamil youths from Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar, where they were taken on tourist visas under the pretext of providing jobs in the IT sector and later were forced to engage in ‘illegal online activities.’

Citing reports of Indian nationals being lured by unregistered agents with high paying jobs in Laos, the Non-Resident Tamil’s Welfare department in an official release on Sunday said the candidates were taken illegally across the border into Laos from Thailand and were held captive to work under ‘harsh and restrictive conditions.’

At times, they were held hostage by criminal syndicates involved in illegal activities, and forced to work in strenuous conditions and subjected to “physical and mental torture.”

“Please note that those convicted of human trafficking crimes have been sentenced up to 18 years in prison in Laos,” the release said.

Also Read: 60 Indian nationals rescued from Cambodia return to India

Youths caught in recruitment scams

Youths from Kerala, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu have found themselves ensnared in human trafficking schemes. They were were lured with promises of job opportunities.

Indian nationals, who had been stuck in Cambodia due to fraudulent employers, recently returned home.

On Friday, 24 May, 27 youths trafficked to Cambodia from Visakhapatnam and its vicinity returned home. Out of the 58 rescued, 27 were from Andhra Pradesh. Promised jobs, they were sold to Chinese operators in Cambodia, subjected to torture, and forced into cybercrimes and Ponzi schemes.

According to Visakhapatnam Joint Commissioner of Police Fakkeerappa Kaginelli, nearly 5,000 Indians were trafficked to Cambodia from across the country through various agents.

On 18 May, Vizag police arrested Chukka Rajesh, S Kondala Rao and M Jnaneshwar Rao on human trafficking charges for luring youth from India with data entry jobs in Singapore but actually trafficking them to Cambodia to carry out cybercrimes.

Also Read: Trafficking Indians to war zones: CBI arrests 4 including Russian Defence Ministry contractual employee

Trafficked to fight in Russia-Ukraine war

In January, three youths from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, travelled to Russia seeking employment. They were misled by a fraudulent recruiting agency and unexpectedly found themselves embroiled in the Ukraine war, taking part in combat.

They joined numerous others from across the country who were enticed by the promise of lucrative job prospects in Russia but ended up as fighters for the nation.

The CBI earlier arrested four people including a contractual translator in the Russian Defence Ministry for their alleged involvement in the human trafficking network that pushed Indians into the Russia-Ukraine war zone.

The central agency alleged that the accused through their agents trafficked Indian nationals to Russia on the pretext of getting them jobs related to the Russian army, security guards and helpers, for a better life and education, and a huge amount was charged from them.

The agents also duped students by facilitating their admissions in dubious private universities in Russia, instead of government or public universities, by offering discounted fees, and visa extensions.

The students were ultimately left “at the mercy” of local agents, it said. Once these aspirants reached Russia, their passports were seized by the agents there and they were forced to join the armed forces after combat role training.

Mohammed Afsan, a 30-year-old man from Hyderabad who was among several Indians conned in the name of a high-paying job in Russia, is said to have died in the Russia-Ukraine war while allegedly fighting for the Kremlin.

Hemil Ashwinbhai Mangukiya (23), an Indian man hailing from Gujarat, was reportedly killed last month in an airstriker.

As many as 100 men, including three from Kalaburagi in Karnataka and one from the Narayanpet district in Telangana, were reportedly said to be the victims of the alleged job fraud that landed them on the frontlines of the conflict.

Also Read: 3 Kerala men conned, trained for 2 weeks, forced to fight a war that isn’t theirs in Russia

Government issues warning

The government advised people not to get ‘enticed’ and ‘entrapped’ in such fraudulent or exploitative job offers and appealed them to stay alert on employment scams.

Candidates need to thoroughly verify recruitment agents and the companies they will be working for before going abroad, it said.

Indians should travel only with an employment visa and a proper employment contract.

They should also verify the authenticity of the visa through the Indian Embassy in the respective countries and the embassies of those countries in India, the government said.

The government also explained that Visa on Arrival in Thailand or Laos for indian nationals does not allow employment in those countries and tourist visa is to be used only for tourism purposes.

(Edited by Shauqueen Mizaj, with PTI inputs)