No Human Trafficking! Airport Officials Goof-Up led to 32 Nurses Detention & Arrest of 1 Man

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No Human Trafficking! Airport Officials Goof-Up led to 32 Nurses Detention & Arrest of 1 Man

Mangaluru: As reported earlier that 32 nurses from Kerala having completed their nursing course were detained and one man by the name of Tony Tom was arrested, at Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru in a suspected case of human trafficking, based on the complaint by KIA immigration officials. According to the police it was revealed earlier, that Tom ran an education consultancy called Hopesyn Education International in Kankanady, Mangaluru. The women got in touch with Tom through a newspaper advertisement that promised jobs to nursing students in reputed hospitals in Germany if they learnt German. In his ad, Tom promised the girls admission to UTMA to learn the language.

It was stated earlier that these 32 students were being taken to Armenia and Germany, under the pretext of attending a course in University of Traditional Medicine of Armenia (UTMA). All these young nurses are from Kerala, but all of them had done their nursing course in Mangaluru. Tony Tom, the main accused behind the alleged trafficking racket, was arrested. Now the whole story has changed, thanks to the blunder created by the Airport officials, which led to the unnecessary detention of these 32 nurses.

As per sources, the women from Kerala said they were held at the Kempegowda International Airport in pitiful conditions with no access to washroom. The nurses and their organizer, Tony Tom, underwent an ordeal at the hands of immigration officials as well as the Bengaluru Police, who registered an FIR — declaring that the 32 women were being trafficked — without verifying facts. The nursing graduates from Kerala had taken the services of an education consultancy based in Kankanady of Mangaluru. The consultancy owned by Tony Tom had helped them enrol in the two-month German language course at the University of Traditional Medicine Republic of Armenia (UTMRA).

It is revealed that the women were asked to pay Rs 1.5 lakh for the course, and Tom had taken Rs 29,200 for a visa, pick-up, admission and Rs 37,450 for air ticket. They were told to pay the remaining amount during the course period. Tom brought all the 32 to the Kempegowda International Airport on Monday night. They were to board a flight at 1.45 am on Tuesday. During check-in, immigration officials doubted they were carrying fake documents. They were detained on suspicion that they were being trafficked to Armenia.

Tom, along with the nurses, were held till 11 am on Tuesday at the airport, and the authorities concluded that it was a case of human trafficking and alerted the BIAL police, it is now learnt.  Ravishankar, immigration officer, Bureau of Immigration, filed a complaint and handed over Tom to them. One of the nurses told media that they were treated badly during the 11-hour stay with immigration officials. “They did not even allow us to go to washroom. On Tuesday morning, we were hungry and they neither arranged breakfast nor allowed us to buy,” the victim said. Another nurse said, “We missed our flight and lost the ticket money. We had to face a lot of inconvenience due to the ignorance of the officials. They are responsible for the inconvenience caused to us. We have taken loans to study abroad.”

Meantime, Kala Krishnaswamy, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Northeast Division), said the police received information from the Armenian embassy over telephone that all the 32 women had taken admission at UTMRA in Yerevan. “We are waiting for official confirmation through documents. We will verify them with the education department and submit before court that there was no human trafficking and that the nurses were genuinely going to study there,” she said. Labhu Ram, Foreigners Regional Registration Officer, said they had handed over the case to the airport police and communicated with the Armenian embassy. Asked about the goof-up by his officials and the monetary loss to nurses, he said he would look into the matter.

With inputs from DHNS

Also Read Related Report:

32 Nurses Studied in Mluru Rescued at BIA in Suspected Human Trafficking, One Arrested

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1 Comment

  1. I searched in the website of UTMRA and there is no mention of German language teaching at all! Their website is very clear. Something is fishy with his advertisement and it is safe to say that KIA acted properly until authenticity is verified.

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