The seven students detained in Grenada have been identified as Dipak Sapkota, 22, Chandra Bahadur Thapa, 22, Ankit Dhakal, 18, Pradip Adhikari, 23, Dipak Bhujel, 20, Arjun Sharma Kafle, 32, and Numkala Tiwari, 20.
The arrested students stated saying that they were brought to Saint Lucia with the expectation of enrolment at Lambirds Academy based in Gros Islet. The students said each of them paid US$9,000 for the courses and US$13,000 to get to Saint Lucia, but on arrival they discovered that they had been duped.
Earlier this month, the Saint Lucia government said it will launch an independent inquiry into Lambirds Academy, following allegations of human trafficking.
In a statement issued by his office, Prime Minister Kenny Anthony said, “The inquiry will determine, among other things, how the investors were granted approval, how the students arrived on island and what arrangements were made for their studies and welfare.”
Last month, minister for home affairs and national security, Senator Philip La Corbiniere, confirmed that Saint Lucia had also sought assistance from the United Nations International Organization of Migration (IOM) to address the suspected case of human trafficking.
The minister said the help of the IOM is necessary given the novelty of the issue to the country, and the gravity of its consequences.
The case has resulted in the arrest of four Asian nationals, following the discovery of a number of Nepalese and Filipino nationals who were unable to return home after paying large sums to pursue promises of education and work in Saint Lucia.
The academy’s principal has also been charged for money laundering.
The educational institution was closed on February 27, and is currently under an ongoing police investigation.