Indian authorities, on Saturday, apprehended a 40-year-old Nepali national that was allegedly attempting to send nine individuals to Maldives.
Indian media outlet The Hindu revealed that the Central Crime Branch (CCB) rescued the Nepali youths who were lodged at a hotel in Chikkajala village of Bangaluru, India, after arresting the trafficker, Shambhu Babugiri.
While victims were lured with guarantees of employment, Babugiri also extorted INR 300,000 from each individual.
According to Indian authorities, Babugiri and his associate R.P Sharma trafficked individuals to Maldives and handed them over contacts in the country who would then proceed to confiscate their travel documents and coerce them to undertake menial jobs without payment.
CCB received information of this case after Maldives Immigration apprehended a group of young individuals and sent them back to India.
Efforts to track down and apprehend Babugiri's associates are ongoing.
According to the US State Department's 2019 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, the majority of 169,000 expatriate workers in Maldives work under conditions which can be considered coercive. TIP further noted that most of these individuals were of Indian or Bangladeshi citizenship and worked in the construction industry.
The Maldivian government recently introduced new regulations to curb the issue of undocumented migrants.