NIA charge sheet against 5 persons for trafficking Indian youths, coercing them into online fraud work


PTI, Jun 22, 2024, 9:18 AM IST

New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday filed charge sheet against five persons, including two foreign nationals, suspected to be part of an international racket trafficking Indian youths and coercing them to work in fraudulent call centres abroad.

The powerful syndicates also used victim control tactics in case any of the trafficked youths refused to continue with the online fraud work, the probe agency said in a statement.

“These tactics included isolation and restriction of movement, confiscation of personal travel documents and physical abuse, arbitrary fines, threat to kill, threat to rape in case of women, threat to arraign in false case of drugs in local police station etc.,” it said.

According to NIA investigations, the accused targeted Indian youths proficient in computers and English language, and coerced them into working in fraudulent call centres on tourist visa for pecuniary gains.

The victims were being recruited, transported and transferred from India to the Golden Triangle SEZ in Lao PDR via Thailand, the NIA said.

Upon arrival, the victims were trained in the use of Facebook, Telegram, basics of cryptocurrency, and handling of applications created by the scam company, it added.

“Tightening its noose further around the human trafficking and cyber fraud syndicates operating within and outside the country, the NIA on Friday charge sheeted five accused, including two foreign nationals, in a major case having international linkages,” the statement said.

Two of the accused named in the charge sheet – Jerry Jacob and Godfrey Alvares – are under arrest and the others – Sunny Gonsalves and foreign nationals Niu Niu and Elvis Du – are still absconding, it added, without disclosing further details.

The charge sheet filed before NIA special court, Mumbai, has exposed the involvement of several foreign nationals in the case, in which the agency is continuing with its investigations.

The racket was being operated with complete audacity, with the accused even deleting the data of the victims’ mobile phones to destroy evidence, the NIA said.

The victims faced threats if they approached the concerned Embassy or local authority. In some cases, the victims were held in scam compounds, confined without food for 3 to 7 days, and tortured if they refused to work, it said.

“They were only released after extraction of extortion payments, ranging from Rs 30,000 to Rs 1,80,000, or intervention by the Embassy of India in Lao PDR on complaints made by the victims,” the NIA said, adding that further investigations, to unearth the complete racket and identify the other accused involved, are being carried out.

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