Port-of-Spain: Lured by promises of generous salaries, three Indians from Jaipur came to Trinidad and Tobago one-and-a-half years ago to work at a granite and marble fabricating company. But their employers not only seized their passports but also made them work from sunrise to sunset in deplorable conditions.

The men are now on their way back home after an NRI living here highlighted their plight. Manju Verma, who has been living here for 38 years now, alerted the authorities to the condition of the three workers - Dinesh Chand Jatav, 29, Jagdish Mali, 36, and Babulal Jatav, 29.

The matter was reported to Minister of Foreign Affairs Surujattan Rambachan and Indian High Commissioner Malay Mishra, both of whom intervened swiftly.

Verma said that some businessmen from Tunapuna, some 15 km from this capital city, not only seized the men's passports and threatened and abused them but also forced them to clean toilets as part of their work.

After being screened, they were offered a monthly salary of approximately $400 (2,700 Trinidad and Tobago dollars), plus a $600 apartment which the businessmen promised to pay for until their contract expired.

Additionally, they were each asked to pay a bond of Rs. 30,000 ($679), which they were loaned in India and had to repay with interest within six months during their employment.

Verma said when the men arrived here, their passports were seized and they had to work all the day round installing granite and marble countertops at restaurants and hotels.

Of their $400 monthly salary, the men sent back 70 percent to their families, and could barely manage to eke out a living with the rest of the money.

Verma said that the three could speak only Hindi and saw the Trinidad advertisement as an opportunity to better their social and financial situation.

Amidst reports that the matter was a case of human trafficking, Minister of Labour, Small and Micro Enterprise Development Errol McLeod told parliament that the issue was being investigated.

(Agencies)