Journey Across Mediterranean
Traffickers in BD, Libya trap people with false promise
Published : Saturday, 30 May, 2020 at 12:00 AM Count : 142
A racket of traffickers has been active in Bangladesh and Libya for quite a long time offering people lucrative jobs in Libya.
They issue fake visas to people of Bangladeshi to take them to Europe across the Mediterranean.
They offer fake visas promising lucrative jobs in Libya although it (Libya) has stopped hiring foreign workers since 2015 due to civil war, officials at the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment as well as the Bangladesh Embassy in Tripoli said.
They told the Daily Observer that trafficking was tarnishing the country's images claiming lives besides putting the victims on harm's way.
"Traffickers continue to recruit the aspirant migrants with the false promise of overseas employment. As victims of trafficking, Bangladeshi migrant workers, both male and female, face the exploitative and inhuman conditions of labour in the form of forced labour and debt bondage in the foreign countries, the officials said.
An International study titled, 'Gambling on life: The plight of Bangladeshi migrants crossing the Mediterranean' said about 79.3 per cent Bangladeshi migrants knew they might even die at sea but they boarded boats towards Italy for the sake of their lives and livelihood.
Of the total surveyed migrants in Italy, 81 per cent Bangladeshis were forced migrants while 15.7 per cent had fallen into the traps of human traffickers and smugglers. They first came to Sudan and Egypt and then via Libya finally reached Italy, said the study.
According to another study conducted by Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program, 15.7 per cent of the total survey participants had fallen into the traps of human traffickers and smugglers in the country.
About 81 per cent Bangladeshi workers have been forced to migrate to Italy from war-torn Libya between 2013 and 2017, the study also revealed.
It said that before their repatriation the workers were arrested and detained for entering Libya illegally on fake visas.
Libya, by comparison, has been predominately a destination and transit country for regular and irregular migrants alike.
While it was a major destination country in the 1990s, encouraging low-skilled and unskilled workers from sub-Saharan Africa to fill its need for manpower, it increasingly became a transit country in the 2000s.
At the same time, large-scale deportations of irregular migrants were carried out throughout the 2000s, resulting in the removal of possibly hundreds of thousands of irregular migrants, UNHCR said.
According to a recent report by the UNHCR, a UN refugee agency, Bangladesh is one of the top 10 countries from where people are sailing to reach Europe after crossing the Mediterranean.
Many Bangladeshis are also held hostage in some countries.
They said the shortage of employment generation in the country and lack of awareness about safe migration was the main reason for human trafficking, which continues in Bangladesh in the guise of labour migration.
According to the Home Ministry about 80 per cent of the trafficking victims were of illegal migration from Bangladesh.
Those people are sending our migrants abroad in irregular ways and they are mainly responsible for trafficking.
However, the government had taken moves to prepare a database of the traffickers to consistently monitor them and finally bring them to book.
The Home Ministry said many Bangladeshi workers were trafficked to Indonesia, Vanuatu, and Jamaica and other countries using the same trick.
Officials said that brokers were involved in trafficking migrant workers to the Maldives via Sri Lanka, South Africa and Latin America via Kenya as well as war-torn Libya, Somalia and the Sudan.