Indian film depicts plight of illegal migrants

An Indian film-maker has captured the sordid and hazardous journey of illiterate villagers from Punjab in India, who are trafficked by smugglers into western Europe particularly countries such as Britain and into cities like London and Leicester. The hour long film, titled Shores Far Away by Delhi based film maker Savyasaachi Jain, was broadcast at a neighborhood centre in Rothley street in Leicester late on Friday evening at an event attended by Leicester East MP Keith Vaz and the UK government's borders and immigration agency (BIA) deputy director (Midlands and East of England Region) Simon Excell.

"Illegal immigrants are trafficked by these smugglers from India via Russia, the Ukraine, Turkey and then on to Calais (France) from where they reach the United Kingdom and cities like London and Leicester," Mr Vaz said. Another route for the illegal immigration is through Russia, the Ukraine, Slovakia and then into Austria, the gateway to western Europe.

The film was screened in Leicester which has a large population of Indian origin, after screenings in London and Glasgow.

It will now be shown throughout schools and colleges in Punjab to highlight the dangers of illegal immigration.

The film showed how illiterate villagers in Punjab are duped by smugglers into selling their lands and are lured by dreams of riches in western European countries like the UK.

It also showed how these illegal immigrants are transported illegally by trucks with false ceilings and how many of them are suffocated to death during their journey, and their bodies being dumped in the snow by brutal human traffickers.

Those who survive have then to cross the border into Austria from Slovakia by foot, in what is a dangerous and exhausting journey.

Victims interviewed in the film narrated how they were subjected to beatings for more money by the smugglers, resulting in deep physical and psychological scars.

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