A Kolkata-based NGO has sought assistance from the foreign ministry to rescue 32 people from Bengal, allegedly held captive in Malaysia by two organisations that had hired them.
The National Anti-Trafficking Committee has also written to the Prime Minister's Office and the West Bengal Chief Minister's Office to come to the rescue of the people, whose plight came to light through a video shared on WhatsApp, an official of the NGO told PTI Friday.
In the video, two people from the group claimed that after reaching Malaysia, passports and visas were snatched and they were taken to Kuching, capital of the Malaysian state of Sarawak.
"The two said that they, along with 23 others, were locked in one room in Malaysia by a casino staff, while seven others were held captive in another room," Sheikh Jinnar Ali of the NGO said.
The group of 32, including two children, belong to the districts of North and South 24 Parganas, Hooghly and Birbhum, he said.
Mr Ali said Indian High Commission officials have informed the NGO that Malaysia police have started a probe into the matter and were able to locate their whereabouts at Kuching.
He said the 32 people were initially lured with a hefty pay package in Malaysia by a man named Kabir Hussain, who runs a job consultancy firm at Gopalnagar in North 24 Parganas district.
"They were made to pay Hussain around Rs 80,000 to Rs 90,000 before they were taken to Malaysia under tourist visa in September," Ali said.
Following this, some of the people were "sold to a casino, while the others were sold to a construction company" in that country, the two said in the video message.
They also claimed that the casino staff have threatened the people that only their "bodies would reach home".
Mr Ali said they were denied food and medical assistance in captivity, according to the video message.
"When we contacted members of their respective families, they claimed to have paid agents of Hussain a hefty amount to bring the group back from Malaysia. Despite paying the sum, they were not allowed to return to India," he said.
The National Anti-Trafficking Committee had played a big role in bringing back home a few goldsmiths stranded in Iran recently.