Illegal travel agents dumping Punjabi youth in Europe
Jalandhar – Even as the state government implemented Punjab Prevention of Human Smuggling Act 2012, a large number of Punjabi youth eyeing greener pastures abroad were fast falling prey to the nexus of illegal travel agents locally. Youth from Punjab, particularly the NRI belt of Doaba had been falling prey to illegal travel agents in the state, hence spending not only huge money but putting their lives at stake to reach abroad. While incidents of youth landing at unknown destinations abroad were common, many end up losing their lives in the wake of making both ends meet abroad. A majority of the youth reach Europe illegally. A Human Rights organization, Aurore Dawn in Paris led by Iqbal Bhatti shared that the youth, who were dumped by illegal travel agents in European countries were leading a miserable life. The NGO has been instrumental in sending bodies many youth, who died in Europe back home in Punjab. Bhatti shared that till date they have sent as many as 117 bodies of youth back home Punjab, who died in European countries. “France alone accounts for more than 300 such youth, who were staying illegal after falling prey to illegal travel agents. They work in extreme cold regions of Europe and end up living a pitiable life”, he said. “In most of the cases, the youth were found leading a life of penury in Europe. They reach abroad after taking hefty loans and end up paying debts, which keep on mounting adding to their miseries”, Bhatti added.The president of NGO Aurore Dawn, Iqbal Singh Bhatti also said that they had been getting similar reports of Punjabi youth from Milano, Bracia, Spain and Portugal to name a few. “Every year around six youth die in France during extreme snowfall. We have so far sent 117 bodies of Punjabis youth on our own expenses back home Punjab in last 113 years through the active assistance of Indian Embassy”, he said. He demanded that Punjab government should tighten noose against illegal travel agents, who were duping innocent youth in the name of greener pastures. “While the travel agents were minting crores, they were ruining the lives of scores of youth. The condition of girls was even more deplorable in Europe and elsewhere abroad”, he highlighted. It is pertinent to mention here that a majority of youth spend over Rs 10 lakh to reach abroad but those, who were staying illegally in Europe were facing acute problems. “Innocent Punjabi youth were dying at the hands of the illegal travel agents nexus and the Punjab government should take strict note of such a socio-economic problem”, he maintained.
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