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IRAQ: Punjab Youths Hoodwinked to Serve US Army in Iraq

Human trafficking is not a new phenomenon in Punjab. However, it is the landing of young aspirants in Iraq that has started raising hackles.


by Ajay BharadwajDNA India
January 7th, 2006

CHANDIGARH: Human trafficking is not a new phenomenon in Punjab. However, it is the landing of young aspirants in Iraq that has started raising hackles.

Sukhwinder Singh, a young graduate from Fatehgarh Sahib district in Punjab, applied for a job of  a driver in Kuwait through his travel agent, Gurbaksh Singh. He paid Rs three lakhs.  He was taken to Kuwait, but before any job was assigned to him, his superiors asked him to go for a training in Dubai.

Little realising the implications, Sukhwinder readily granted his consent.  But he was shocked to find himself stranded at the Baghdad airport along with more than a dozen other youths.

He told DNA here on Friday that his passport was seized and all his money confiscated. “For five months I worked there in the barracks of the US army as a sweeper. I was subjected to untold humiliation before I could get in touch with my parents,” he said.
His parents , knowing little where to appeal for help, contacted former MP Balwant Singh Ramoowalia.

Ramoowalia, talking to mediapersons here, claimed to have got at least 40 such youths released from Baghdad with the intervention of the Indian embassy.
Sukhwinder’s tale was repeated by at least two dozen other youths who were present at the news conference.

Ramoowalia said this indicated that the youths from Punjab were being misled to Iraq to serve the US army. He said since the youths had started turning down job offers from Iraq, “Now  they are being hoodwinked to serve in the US-occupied country against their wishes.”
Ramoowalia presented the case of all the 40 youths to Punjab DGP SS Virk, who sought a written complaint from the affected persons to take action against the culprits.



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