17 Indian victims of human trafficking rescued from armed gang in Libya; brought home by MEA

Seventeen Indian nationals trapped by an armed gang in Libya have been rescued and brought back home by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), it was reported today. The rescued people, who were from Punjab and Haryana, reached Delhi last night.

The group of rescued Indians. Photo courtesy: X/IndiainTunis

Sources involved in the matter said that the Indian embassy in Tunis played a key role in evacuation of the Indians. The case was brought to the attention of the Indian embassy in Tunis — the capital of Tunisia in North Africa — on May 26 by the family members of the stranded Indian nationals.

The Indians were being held captive by an armed group in Zwara City in Libya — the city is very close to the Libya-Tunisia border — and they were all victims of a human trafficking racket, said the sources. Their ordeal began in February this year, according to a post on the social network X.

Following the appeal of the families of the Indian victims, the Indian embassy in Tunis pursued the matter with Libyan authorities throughout May and June, as well as through informal channels.

On June 13, the Libyan authorities rescued the Indian nationals from the armed gang, but still kept them in official custody, since the Indians had illegally entered Libya.

It took high-level intervention by the Indian ambassador in Tunis and senior MEA officials from New Delhi for the Libyan authorities to finally release them, said the sources.

Once the 17 people were released, they were taken care of by the Indian embassy in Tunis — they were given accommodation, clothing, food, and flight tickets. Since the rescued people had no passports, the Indian authorities facilitated their travel back to India by issuing emergency certificates.

Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India – Writer

The Press Trust of India Ltd., commonly known as PTI, is the largest news agency in India. It is headquartered in New Delhi and is a nonprofit cooperative among more than 500 Indian newspapers. It has over 500 full-time employees as of 1 January 2022, including about 400 journalists.


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