Hyderabad: A total of 14 Indian undocumented migrant workers who fell victim to human trafficking and were stuck in war-torn Iraq have returned home safely.
The group from Telangana, who were first brought to New Delhi by Indian government officials, reached Hyderabad by train on Wednesday morning and later left for their homes in Nizamabad district.
Sharing their tale of woes with the media the undocumented migrant workers said they were taken to Iraq about five months ago, after bogus agents promised to secure jobs for them.
However they were stopped by Iraqi authorities while being transported from Arbil in Kurdistan to Baghdad and were sent back to Arbil where they were arrested by the officials.
“Never mind getting jobs, we were forced to starve most of the time”, said one of the victims, Krishna. “We were taken to Iraq on tourist visas and agents made a false promise of getting us work”, he added.
As soon as they reached Iraq their passports were also seized.
The 14 victims all come from Nizamabad district in Telangana and their plight came to light after their families approached the local Member of Parliament K. Kavita.
Efforts to get them back home were stepped up after Kavita approached the minister for external affairs Sushma Swaraj.
The Gulf Telangana Workers Welfare and Cultural Association also coordinated in the rescue efforts, said the association president P Basant Reddy.
After her intervention Indian officials — including MP Raj, and the consul-general of Indian in Arbil — made arrangements to fly them back to New Delhi from Arbil on Tuesday and they reached Hyderabad on Wednesday.
“These people were the victims of the human traffickers”, Raj said.
The workers, who come from poor background and had to borrow and pay Rs200,000 (Dh10,317) each to go to Iraq appealed to the government to help them. “It was clear case of cheating”, said Basant Reddy.
The victims hail from Navipet, Nandipet, Sirikonda, Kammarapally and some other villages of Nizamabad district.