Man convicted of trafficking wife and baby to India

The Sydney man is the first Australian to be convicted of human exit trafficking.

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The Australian Federal Police charged a 29-year-old man from Lidcombe with human exit trafficking in January this year. The man was sentenced to 21 months in jail by the NSW District Court for forcing his wife and 2-month-old baby to board a flight to India, news.com.au reported.

Footage of the woman being coerced by her husband, his mother and a friend has been released the AFP. In the video, the man is seen placing his hand on the distressed mother’s shoulder while ushering her and the baby girl towards departure gates.

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Court records showed that in March 2017, the man bought a one-way ticket for his Indian wife and Australian-born child a flight from Sydney to India.

The trafficking victim told police that the man had threatened to kill her if she did not agree to his demands, according to a Daily Mail report.

After his wife’s flight landed in India, the man reached out to the Department of Immigration with incorrect information about the mother in hopes to have her banned from returning to Australia.

However, after the incident, the woman contacted Australian authorities who assigned her case to AFP’s Human Trafficking team. In September 2017 the human trafficker was served with a court attendance notice after the AFP raided his residence, the daily reported.

Two months later, he was consequently arrested by authorities at Sydney International Airport where he was meant to board a flight to Bangkok.

The man pleaded guilty to one count of trafficking in persons (exit from Australia), news.com.au. reported.

The woman pictured here with the man’s mother heading towards boarding gates. Source: news.com.au

In an impactful statement to the court, his wife said that the traumatising experience made her fear for her and her daughter’s life.

“Because of his actions, I live in constant fear and stress knowing the lengths he will go to find us and harm us. This fear and stress impacts my physical, emotional and mental health,” she said, according to the news report.

Victims of human trafficking often fear coming forward, AFP Commander Hilda Sirec said.

‘Human trafficking is not often discussed or even considered to be an issue in Australian society. It is often unreported, but the reality is that Australia is not immune to human trafficking and victims in our communities are suffering in silence,’ Cmdr. Hilda explained, as per news reports.

‘It is thanks to brave people like the woman involved in this matter that our investigators were able to work with her to see justice done.

‘AFP investigators in our human trafficking teams work tirelessly to ensure the well-being of all victims who come forward and seek an escape. Their cases are handled with compassion and great care.

‘Our partnerships across the sector, including with NGOs, are crucial in ensuring this often hidden crime comes to the surface, is talked about and the signs are understood. Without the community’s help, it’s very difficult for our investigators to take appropriate action and help victims of human trafficking.’

The daily also reported that the AFP had received 223 reports of human trafficking and slavery offences between 2019 and 2020.

READ ALSO: Kulwinder Singh found not guilty of murdering wife Parwinder Kaur in 2013

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