Kochi: A CBI court here has awarded rigorous imprisonment (RI) to seven persons, including three women, in a human trafficking case. The seven persons trafficked women from parts of Kerala to brothels in gulf countries from 2009-2012.
While four accused were awarded 10 years RI and slapped fines ranging from Rs 2.54 lakh to Rs 1.54 lakh, the rest were handed seven years RI and fine of Rs 1.2 lakh each. Six other accused in the case, who aided the racketeers, were acquitted by the court, while two accused turned approvers and one is still absconding.
CBI court judge S Santhosh Kumar yesterday observed that based on the evidence provided by the victims, they were treated as “slaves” in the UAE. Cases were filed against the accused under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act.
The matter had come to light when a woman from Thiruvananthapuram was promised a domestic help’s job and sent to Muscat in 2012 by the accused. The woman was sent to the gulf nation on a forged passport. She was taken to UAE and forced into prostitution by Suresh, Lissy Sojan and Sethulal.
However, the victim managed to escape and reached Mumbai where she was arrested for possessing a fake passport. The woman was handed over to the Kerala Police and a case was registered at Kochi. The crime branch probed the case and the CBI took over the investigation later, following which five more cases of human trafficking were registered.