What is the human trafficking in Princeton, Texas that has a link to India? – Firstpost

What is the human trafficking in Princeton, Texas that has a link to India? – Firstpost

In Princeton, North Texas, a human trafficking case has been uncovered involving four individuals accused of forcing women to work under the guise of computer programming internships.

The suspects, including a couple and two other men, were charged with second-degree human trafficking after authorities discovered 15 women living in precarious conditions and working for shell companies. Individuals of Indian origin – Santhosh Katkoori, Dwaraka Gunda, Chandan Dasireddy and Anil Male – were charged on July 8.

According to US court documents obtained by a Dallas-based television network WFAAThree of the four suspects claim to be Indian citizens.

How was the traffic discovered?

The case began when a local pest control company received a call to treat a two-story brick home on Ginsburg Lane for bedbugs. The technician noticed young men showing him around the house where three to five women were sleeping on the floor in each bedroom.

The house was furnished minimally, consisting only of folding tables, air mattresses and numerous suitcases in open spaces.

Based on a tip from the pest control company about suspicious behavior, Princeton police conducted a welfare check on March 13 and discovered 15 women, all between the ages of 23 and 26, living inside the home.

How did the trafficking operation take place?

According to arrest reports and police statements, the women were under the impression that they were participating in training courses to learn Java or computer programming.

But these internships were just a front. The women applied for jobs and, once hired, their salaries were paid to a company run by Katkoori and Gunda, which took a 20 percent commission before giving the rest to the women.

Princeton Police Chief James Waters told local media: “In my 20 years in Princeton, I have never heard of an event of this magnitude or an event of this type.”

The investigation revealed that the operation may have had as many as 100 victims and that it had been going on for three to five years. Several communities in Princeton, Melissa, McKinney and other areas of Collin County were involved.

What arrests were made?

On July 8, Santhosh Katkoori, 31, Dwaraka Gunda, 31, Chandan Dasireddy, 24, and Anil Male, 37, were formally charged with second-degree human trafficking.

Police obtained search warrants for the residence and discovered several laptops, cell phones, printers and fraudulent documents. These items were seized and are being investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Additional laptops, cell phones and documents were seized at other locations, a Princeton police news release said, as it was later determined that multiple locations in Princeton, Melissa and McKinney were involved in the forced labor of victims, including adult males.

According to affidavits, the women told police that Dasireddy picked them up at the airport for what they believed was an internship to learn JavaScript coding.

Instead, they were forced to work for several programming companies owned by Katkoori and Gunda, living in precarious conditions, sleeping five or eight to a room on mats, blankets or a single air mattress.

How did the legal proceedings take place?

The suspects, who have been released on bail, face sentences of between two and 20 years in prison if convicted.

Katkoori’s attorney, Jeremy Rosenthal, disputed the police’s allegations of forced labor, telling local media: “These workers are in the IT industry and none of this is forced labor. The Princeton Police Department took a ‘shoot first, aim later’ approach.”

Rosenthal said the arrests were made in haste. “To take a simple example, they claim to have seized computers, studied the details of the operation, and then made arrests. But they arrested Katkoori the same day they seized the computers – and only a day after the initial complaint.”

He maintained that his client was innocent of human trafficking and expected more inconsistencies to emerge as the case progresses.

Is the investigation over?

Princeton police, with assistance from federal and state agencies, continue to investigate this case. Police suspect that other homes in the area are linked to this trafficking operation and that additional victims have yet to be identified.

Princeton Police Department Lt. Jesus Rodriguez was quoted by CBS News, “This is very new for us, so we are working on it,” he said, noting the department’s first encounter with a case of this nature.

The women found in the Ginsburg Lane home have received help, but their future remains uncertain as it will be determined by the courts. Additional charges against multiple parties are pending as the investigation continues.

Read also | ‘I spent more on a pet dog than on a paid servant’: Shocking revelations from Hinduja family’s human trafficking trial

With contributions from agencies