Indian-origin man Simranjit Singh pleads guilty to human trafficking from Canada to US

Indian-origin man Simranjit Singh pleads guilty to human trafficking from Canada to US

Human trafficking is a serious crime that violates the dignity and rights of millions of people around the world. It involves the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons for the purpose of exploitation, such as forced labour, sexual exploitation, organ removal or other forms of abuse. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), human trafficking is the third-largest criminal industry in the world after drug trafficking and arms trafficking, generating an estimated $150 billion in profits annually.

Human trafficking from Canada to the US involving an Indian-origin man named Simranjit Singh, who pleaded guilty to smuggling several Indian nationals across the border for profit. We will also examine the legal consequences of his actions and the impact of his crime on the victims and society.


Simranjit Singh, also known as Shally, is a 40-year-old Indian national living in Canada. He was arrested on June 28, 2022, in Ontario at the request of the US government and extradited to the US on March 30, 2023. He appeared in Albany, New York on July 31, 2023 and admitted to six counts of alien smuggling and three counts of conspiracy to commit alien smuggling.

According to his plea agreement, Singh admitted that from March 2020 to March 2021, he facilitated the smuggling of numerous Indian nationals from Canada into the US via Cornwall Island and the Akwesasne Mohawk Indian Reservation in the St Lawrence River region. He arranged to fly them from India to Calgary, Toronto or Montreal and then transport them by boat across the river through Akwesasne, a territory that straddles the borders of Ontario, Quebec and New York.

Singh charged his clients between $5,000 and $35,000 for his services⁴. Some of them were seeking asylum in the US, while others were looking for better economic opportunities or joining their families. However, they faced many risks and dangers during their journey, such as exposure to harsh weather conditions, drowning in the river, arrest by law enforcement or exploitation by smugglers.

In March 2021, eight bodies were recovered from the St Lawrence River near Akwesasne. Four of them were identified as Indian nationals and four as Romanian nationals. They were believed to be victims of human smuggling who died while trying to cross the border.


Singh's sentencing is scheduled for December 28, 2023 before US District Judge Mae A D’Agostino in Albany. He faces a mandatory term of five years in prison and up to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of supervised release of up to three years. He will also be subject to deportation following the conclusion of his sentence.

Singh's crime not only violated the laws of both Canada and the US but also harmed the dignity and rights of his clients. He exploited their vulnerability and desperation for his own profit. He exposed them to physical and psychological harm and put their lives at risk. He also contributed to the global problem of human trafficking that affects millions of people every year.

Human trafficking has negative impacts on individuals, communities and societies. It deprives people of their freedom, autonomy and security. It undermines their health, education and development. It erodes their trust in institutions and authorities. It fuels corruption, violence and organized crime. It threatens social cohesion, human rights and democracy.


Human trafficking is a grave violation of human dignity and rights that requires urgent action from all stakeholders. Governments need to strengthen their laws, policies and cooperation to prevent, prosecute and punish human trafficking. Civil society organizations need to raise awareness, provide support and advocate for victims' rights. Individuals need to be informed, vigilant and compassionate towards those who are vulnerable or exploited.

Simranjit Singh's case is an example of how human trafficking can occur across borders and affect people from different countries and backgrounds. It also shows how human trafficking can be motivated by various factors such as economic hardship, political instability or family reunification. It reminds us that human trafficking is not only a legal issue but also a moral issue that challenges our values and humanity.


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