COCHIN, India (CNS) — The Catholic Bishops’ Council of Kerala dismissed the secretary of its youth commission, who has been charged as part of a human trafficking ring.
Father Stephen Alathara, spokesman for the council, also said Nov. 17 it would conduct an investigation into the priest’s activities, reported the Press Trust of India.
In November, police included Syro-Malabar Father Jaison Kollannur as part of a five-person ring that allegedly tried to traffic 42 young Indians to Houston under the pretext of attending a student exchange program.
The Asian church news agency UCA News said the five, including Father Kollannur, faked certificates to say the Indians were experts in education.
“It’s most unfortunate that the priest misused his official position,” Father Alathara said.
Kerala Home Minister Thiruvanchiyur Radhakrishnan said he had directed the director general of police to make a detailed probe into trafficking networks in Kerala.
“We will be taking action against those found guilty,” he said. “I warn people not to fall into the trap set by these networks.”
A police official said the case was flagged when the U.S. consulate in Chennai told police that seven people taking part in visa interviews did not have the required educational qualifications.
UCA News reported that police said Father Kollannur confessed to his involvement in human trafficking as a means of raising cash for foreign trips, adding that he received about $1,000 for sending each person to the United States.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103