Hundreds of Indians, mostly from the western states ofPunjab and Gujarat, attempt to cross the U.S.-Canada border eachyear, braving harsh weather conditions in search of a betterlife and job opportunities in the West.
Police in Gujarat said they identified the four, belongingto a single family, after law enforcement agencies on the borderprovided photographs of passports and other belongings.
"We are now trying to nab the human traffickers who managedto send this family and others abroad via illegal channels,"said police official A.K. Jhala in the state capital ofGandhinagar.
The six detained by police were running a travel and tourismcompany in the state, he added.
U.S. authorities have charged a U.S. man with humantrafficking after the four - a man, woman, baby and teenager -were found dead in the Canadian province of Manitoba, a fewyards north of the frontier with Minnesota.
They were among four families from the same village who hadtravelled to the border this month.
Officials said they got separated from the group of 18people and were probably caught in a blizzard, resulting in atragedy described as "mind-blowing" by Canadian Prime MinisterJustin Trudeau.
The situation came to light only when the group wasintercepted by authorities and one of them was found to becarrying a backpack with baby supplies, although there was noinfant among them.
"The nexus of human trafficking runs deep, often involvinglocal politicians too," said Jhala, adding that people even selltheir land and homes to fund efforts to get to the United Statesor Canada.
A foreign ministry official in the Indian capital of NewDelhi said authorities were coordinating with border officialsin the United States and Canada to investigate the illegalimmigration case.
(Reporting by Rupam Jain; Editing by Clarence Fernandez) ((Rupam.Jain@thomsonreuters.com; +91 7042133028;))