NSW man facing multiple charges for allegedly trafficking two-month-old daughter and wife

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A pile of dolls rest in a chair in Ginger Benfield's backyard in the aftermath of tropical storm Harvey in west Houston, Texas, U.S. September 11, 2017. Reuters/Chris Aluka Berry

A man from New South Wales is facing multiple charges for allegedly trafficking his two-month-old daughter and wife. He is charged with human trafficking, document forgery and general dishonesty.

Pardeep Lohan from Lidcombe in Sydney's west is suspected of using deception, threats and coercion to force his Indian-born wife to go to India earlier this year along with their Australian-born child. He was approached by the media on Tuesday, and when he was asked about the allegation that he was a human trafficker, he replied, "Yes, I am - I sell human organs - You want some human organs, like kidney?"

It is also alleged that he provided the Immigration Department with false information about his wife's visa application. Based on court documents, Lohan used a false withdrawal of visa application form. He supposedly did so "to induce a commonwealth public official to accept it as genuine and dishonestly influence the exercise of a public duty or function.”

Lohan’s wife reportedly "feared she was being forced to travel to India without her consent.”

"Once she was overseas we will allege that the suspect in this case contacted the Department of Immigration to attempt to have the victims' visa application cancelled," AFP's Victim Based Crime Command coordinator Detective Superintendent Dan Evans said.

Evans said the case must serve as a reminder that Commonwealth trafficking offences may apply if anyone forces someone to leave the country using deception, threats and coercion as such is an offence according to laws. Right now, Lohan remains on bail.

As for the baby’s case, police allege that her passport was removed so she could not return to Australia. The Sydney Morning Herald understands that the woman and child involved have now returned to Australia. The government supports the alleged victims through the Support for Trafficked People program.

The Australian Federal Police has charged the 27-year-old man. On Tuesday, he appeared at the Downing Centre Local Court. His matter was reportedly adjourned until December 19, when he is expected to be legally represented.

Lohan was first targeted by detectives from the Australian Federal Police Human Trafficking Team. A referral to the AFP from Anti-Slavery Australia, a non-government organisation, followed. He has been charged with a count of trafficking in persons, which holds a maximum penalty of up to 12 years jail time. One count of general dishonesty and one count of using a forged document carry maximum penalties of 10 and five years, respectively.

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