Human traffickers thriving in human misery
Published : Wednesday, 22 May, 2019 at 12:00 AM Count : 146
A powerful cartel of human traffickers is active in Bangladesh, whose main aim is to make money by trading the abducted people abroad little thinking about the safety of the persons involved.
They also extort money from the victims' families by torturing the kidnapped persons in their custody.
As many as 39 Bangladeshis went missing after the boat capsized in the Mediterranean Sea off Tunisian Coast on May 11 while attempting to reach Europe from Libya.
The godfathers of the human traffickers are also powerful and have cultivated good relations with the crime control authority by using their illegally earned money. The manpower businessmen demand Tk 10 to Tk 12 lakh for sending an individual to Europe, intelligence sources said.
The boat carrying the illegal immigrants onboard sank 40 miles off the coast of Sfax, south of the capital Tunis, and fishing boats rescued the survivors. Two boats -- one carrying around 150 people -- set out from Libya at the same time on May 9 (night).
Around 130 of them were Bangladeshis and one of the boats reached Italy safely and another carrying 70 to 80 people sank in the sea.
The Bangladeshis went to Libya four months ago. They reached Tripoli via Dubai, Sharjah and Alexandria. In Tripoli, the human traffickers tortured them and extorted money from their families.
Only 25 people have been convicted in cases over trafficking of some 7,840 victims since Bangladesh enacted the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act in 2012.
Between February 2012 and June this year, police recorded 4,152 cases under the law. The cases involved 5,367 men, 1,638 women and 835 children, all of whom were victims of human trafficking at home and abroad, according to data from Police Headquarters.
Around 50,000 Bangladeshi girls are trafficked to or through India every year, according to a study by Indian Border Security Force.
Human trafficking in Bangladesh came under the spotlight during the Andaman crisis when mass graves of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis were discovered in the bordering areas of Thailand and Malaysia in 2015.
Besides this, the media has made various reports of human trafficking gangs operating in Libya and Iran who held Bangladeshis hostage for months and demanded ransom. In many instances, men and women who had gone abroad as job seekers were confined to rooms without any jobs or pay.
The NHRC chairman said Bangladesh has enacted rules, a law and a national plan of action on the prevention of human trafficking, but sadly the conviction rate is very low. In many cases, human trafficking is happening in the name of labour migration.
"The cases under the human trafficking prevention law must see fast disposal. We want justice for the victims," he said.
"The root causes of human trafficking need to be addressed. There should be livelihood options and enough security for them at home, so that they don't feel the need to go abroad," he said.
Rapid Action Battalion arrested three members of a human trafficking syndicate in connection with the boat capsize incident in the Mediterranean Sea on May 9. The arrested were identified as Abdur Razzak Bhuiyan, 34, Akkach Matubbar, 39, and Anamul Haque Talukdar, 46.
They were arrested from different places of Dhaka, a RAB official said while briefing journalists at RAB's Karwan Bazar centre this noon.
Commander Mufti Mahmud Khan, RAB's legal and media wing director said after during press on May 17 conference that of the arrested, Anamul Haque was engaged in human trafficking for 10 to 12 years.
Anamul is owner of Yahia Oversees of Zindabazar in Sylhet, and Razzak is a close associate of his syndicate, the RAB official added. Besides, Akkash belongs to another syndicate, he further said.
Bangladesh Red Crescent Society has said the death toll of Bangladeshi victims, which is until now 39. It may rise further as there were more people on the boat than actually reported.
Libya, which has been in a civil war following the defeat of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, became a major transit for the migrants from the Middle East and African nations to reach Europe through the Mediterranean.