Police investigating cases involving illegal immigration to the United States discovered that a human trafficker’s accomplice vanished with the passports of 37 families held captive by the traffickers in Istanbul, Turkey. These families had traveled to Turkey in order to travel to Mexico, where they were supposed to cross the border into the United States.
According to police officials, the man identified as Ali Khan collaborated with a group of people smugglers in Istanbul and stole the passports from the families. He is using the documents as leverage to extort money from the families.
“When these Gujarati families were taken to various rented apartments in Istanbul, Khan was providing logistical support to the people smugglers,” a Gujarat Police officer explained.
Khan began demanding money from the families after vanishing with the documents. According to police sources, even the people smugglers who brought the families to Turkey are unaware of Khan’s whereabouts.
Between January 10 and January 20, these families were housed in flats. “Through the money provided by two Gujarat-based angadias, the Gujarati families were getting all sorts of luxuries at the flats,” said another police officer. “As a result, the Turkish mafia decided to extort even more money from them.”
The officer continued, “Meanwhile, Khan entered the picture. He demanded 2,000 Turkish lira (approximately Rs 10,000) from each family. When the families were unable to pay, he took their passports and fled.”
Because the families lack travel documents, the task of rescuing them has become more difficult. According to police, 118 Gujarati families from Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar, and Mehsana are stranded in Turkey.