19 Dec : With a view to checking human trafficking, the govt plans to introduce biometric passport system that will include finger-printing, by 2010, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said.
"We have decided to introduce biometric passport system. We intend to complete the entire process by 2010," he said replying to supplementaries during the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha on Thursday.
Stating that there was a nexus of recruiting agencies and employers in human trafficking, Mukherjee added that Indian workers fall for the lure of more money and resort to illegal migration and end up being harassed and exploited.
"Our policy is whenever the nationality (of the worker detained by a foreign country for illegal migration) is identified, we bring them back," he said.
Many illegal migrants destroy their passport and other identity proof on landing on the foreign soil, making it difficult to ascertain their nationality and stay on using liberal immigration rules.
He, however, categorically stated that India was not sending any "terrorist" to foreign countries using the human trafficking network."These (people going illegally from India to foreign land) are civilians, job seekers… we are not sending any terrorist or infiltrators into any country."
Government, he said, adopts a multi-pronged approach to combat trafficking, which encompasses prevention through stronger law enforcement, rescue and rehabilitation of victims including through repatriation of those confirmed to be Indian nationals.
"Whenever cases of trafficking involving foreign countries come to notice, the matter is promptly taken up for resolution bilaterally through diplomatic channels," the External Affairs Minister said.
Answering question on illegal migrants recently caught in Belgium, Mukhejee said during raids conducted on 18th October, 164 individuals were arrested by Belgian authorities.
"Of these, only one has been confirmed to be Indian. No further nationality details have been made available by the Belgian authorities." The Indian national was repatriated, he said.
Mukherjee said there were an estimated over 100,000 illegal Indian migrant workers in western countries including 77,000 in Italy, 10,000 in Germany and 5,000 in Spain.