A Malayali home-maker in Dubai was in for a shock when she went out of her way to help a Kerala woman escape from a brothel in the Gulf state. In a letter to Kerala Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, she has accused an employee of the Indian consulate of being part of a prostitution racket in the UAE.
The home-maker’s letter was passed on to the minister last month by Anweshi, a non-governmental organisation working for women’s rights. Since then, Anweshi has been flooded with abusive telephone calls.
The letter was written after the home-maker was allegedly threatened by a consulate employee, known only by his first name. In mid-2012, she had tried to help a Malayali woman who was lured to Ajman with the offer of a maid job at a Malayali doctor’s house in Dubai. Only on reaching Ajman did she realise that she was trapped in a prostitution racket allegedly run by Lissy Sojan, also known as Leena Basheer and Aswathy, a person wanted by the Kerala Police.
The victim was locked up and raped repeatedly by the brothel’s customers. In their attempts to free the victim, her family contacted the Malayali home-maker living in UAE, who eventually managed to help. In the letter detailing her attempt, she said she first tried to contact the Indian consulate at Dubai through their emergency number. In response to the distress call, the consulate asked her to send in a mail with the details of the case and said action would be taken only after the weekend holiday, she said.
She later went to the Ajman police, who raided an apartment being used as a brothel by the racket. A man named Manish, believed to be Sojan’s driver, was arrested from the flat. Four victims of the racket, three of them from Kerala, were also arrested from the apartment.
According to her letter, the Indian consulate official – who is also Malayali – visited the victim in prison and verbally abused her and allegedly threatened the home-maker for rescuing the victim from the flat.
Responding to The Hindu’s queries, Sanjay Verma, Consul General, confirmed that the consulate employee was part of the team that visited the Ajman prison to examine the case. However, he termed the allegations that consulate officials were protecting those involved in human trafficking as ‘baseless.’ He said the consulate had been tracking the victim’s case and had tried to meet her when she was housed at a shelter in Ras Al Khaima, but they had been denied permission. “This consulate is proactive in such matters and also runs a shelter to house distressed women, including victims or participants in human trafficking,” he said.
Lissy Sojan has at least two cases of human trafficking against her in the State. Reports suggest she had visited Bangalore for a wedding late last year, even as the police were claiming that it was difficult for them to shut down the racket as it was operating overseas.
Keywords: Nedumbassery human trafficking