A major human trafficking racket at Mangalore port was busted on Saturday after 84 Sri Lankan refugees were rescued there. They were being trafficked to Australia by a group of 14 people.
Inspector General of Police Pratap Reddy said the traffickers were posing as agents and had promised these Sri Lankan refugees better job opportunities in Australia.
The 84 refugees include 22 women, 56 men and six children, who belong to 23 different refugee camps in Tamil Nadu, he said.
Reddy said the accused had bought a boat called 'Shri Raksha' from a person in Chitrapura by paying Rs 11.5 lakh.
The police found 6,000 litre of stored diesel and a huge quantity of food on board. They also confiscated Rs 2.84 lakh in cash, 10 mobile phones and identity cards of refugee camps.
During interrogations, it was learnt that the agents had tried to send these refugees to Australia on two earlier occasions via Kerala, but their attempts had failed.
Pointing out other such incidents, he said in 2011, seven cases of human trafficking were traced across India, mainly from Tamil Nadu. In 2012, 13 more cases had been cracked till August. He said this was the biggest case of trafficking to be busted so far.