Human trafficking charges for Indian grandmother
HUMAN trafficking charges have been laid against an Indian grandmother in Sydney who allegedly tried to help her son force his wife and baby daughter back to India.
Emotions ran high in Central Local Court yesterday when the 45-year-old grandmother appeared after being arrested at Sydney airport on Tuesday as she tried to fly out of Australia.
Her 28-year-old son from Lidcombe is accused of using coercion, threats of violence and deception to make his Indian wife and Australian-born child go to India against their will in March last year.
Detectives allege his mother helped to force her daughter-in-law to leave and later destroyed the two-month-old girl's passport to prevent their return home.
An antislavery group tipped off police last May after the husband allegedly gave false information to the immigration department in an attempt to cancel his wife's visa and his daughter's passport while they were in India.
However, they were able to return to Sydney before their paperwork was cancelled, police allege.
The man was arrested in December and charged with trafficking persons exiting Australia, which carries a maximum penalty of 12 years jail, along with using a forged document and general dishonesty, which carry maximum sentences of 10 and five years respectively.
His mother has also been charged with trafficking persons exiting Australia.
Yesterday the man crouched on the courtroom floor with his head in his hands while his mother looked exhausted and hugged herself as she appeared via audio visual link from custody.
Magistrate Robert Williams threatened to throw him out when he interjected to ask a question before he eventually stormed out when his mother was bailed on condition she report to Auburn police station daily.
"She don't know where the police station is," he said before walking out.
Outside court he told reporters: "She's not going to jail. If anyone knows where my child is, please let me know. I want to see my child."
Magistrate Williams ordered the grandmother, who has a clean criminal record, to surrender her passport and stay away from airports, noting she had few ties to Australia. He also flagged concerns about her interfering with victims and witnesses.
"It's a serious offence and what appears to be a strong prosecution case," Mr Williams said.
"(But) there is no history of violence and there is no noncompliance history."
Detective Superintendent Daniel Evans said outside court it was an uncomfortable reality that human trafficking occurs on Australian soil but the force worked with NGOs to ensure they did not remain in the shadows.
The grandmother will next face Downing Centre Local Court on September 19 while her son is due to appear on August 14.