Indians Trafficked to Jamaica Assisted by IOM Highlights Increase in Trafficking from India to the Caribbean


An Indian national trafficked to Jamaica for forced labour returned home today with IOM's assistance.

A total of five trafficked individuals from India, identified by the Jamaican authorities, were being exploited at the same business establishment.  All were assisted to return by IOM.

Their immediate shelter was provided by the Jamaican government and later by the Indian High Commission in Jamaica.

"Having the Indian High Commission in Jamaica was a great benefit; many times consular representation is absent, so that makes return coordination even more of a challenge," explains Chissey Mueller, IOM Project Manager.

Earlier this year, IOM and its partners in St. Maarten helped to identify and return an Indian female who was trafficked for domestic servitude.

These cases of human trafficking of male and female migrants who have been forced to work in exploitative conditions in the Caribbean, and cases of migrant smuggling to Central America and Mexico, point to an increase in the number of Indians arriving in the region.

In the case of the trafficked migrants assisted by IOM, they were offered work and told that they would earn good money by a local recruiter who has associates in a Caribbean country.

"It takes about two days and costs around USD 2,000 to fly from India to a Caribbean country.  And the reality is that they work 14 hour days, are deceived about the job, are threatened regularly and are in debt because of the travel expense," adds Mueller.

The migrants reported feeling trapped because India is far away and they cannot buy airplane tickets home as they have not been paid the promised wages.

IOM has been providing, on a case-by-case basis, technical support and resources to partners in the English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean who are assisting the most vulnerable migrants (such as minors and victims of trafficking) with immediate shelter, food, medical care, and voluntary return and reintegration.  More than 50 victims of trafficking in these Caribbean countries have been identified and assisted by IOM and partners since 2004.

The resources for this return have been made available as part of IOM’s project, Protecting Vulnerable Migrants in the Caribbean, funded by the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), and managed by IOM in Washington D.C.

The IOM office in Hyderabad, India, provides reintegration support for the victims returned from the Caribbean.

For more information, please contact:

Chissey Mueller
IOM Washington D.C.
Tel: + 1 202 862 1826 Ext. 236