International human trafficking syndicates have become more active in eleven districts in the country, according to law enforcers and migration researchers.
According to sources in the police, international human traffickers are active mainly in Dhaka , Manikganj, Madaripur, Shariatpur, Faridpur, Narsingdi, Naogaon, Golapganj, Natore, Sunamganj and Kishoreganj districts.
The Criminal Investigation Department on Tuesday filed a case against 38 known human traffickers. Bangladesh Post has managed a copy of the case statement. The document also shows that both the victims and the accused human traffickers are originally from these few specific districts.
Shariful Hasan, Head of BRAC Migration Programme said, “Most of the human traffickers are mainly involved in some specific districts.”
The victims whom BRAC provided support are also people of these seven districts, he said.
He further said, “Most of the human traffickers are the origins of these few specific districts.”
According to the young migration expert, the human traffickers who are leading the gangs from abroad, are also from some specific districts.
Responding to a question, Shariful Hasan said, “The government must demolish the networks also by detecting the bank accounts of the human traffickers and their other money transactions.”
Professor CR Abrar, internationally renowned migration expert also acknowledged that the trends of human trafficking are mostly active in some districts.
He said, “Human traffickers are aggressively active where people usually do not legally migrate.”
He said, “We also saw that due to climate change, people have become victims of human trafficking in the affected districts.”
He explained that many people have lost their earnings, homes and lands due to different climatic changes including river erosion, and are being trapped by the human traffickers.”
Foreign members from Libya, Sudan, Egypt are also connected with the gangs.
Every victim has to pay more than Tk 10 lakh for going to Europe through these human trafficker networks. However, the ways are totally illegal as per laws of the country. Some government officials were also involved in the nexus, said an officer who is involved in the ongoing special drives against the human traffickers. He referred to the twenty six people shot dead recently in Libya while going to Europe, as having also left the country using the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
How they left the country using the airport without having any permission or work permits, or even any job offers abroad, the officer questioned.
Researchers said Libya has become the hot transit point for human trafficking. Influential people from home and abroad are behind the human trafficking. Some greedy manpower agencies are allegedly involved in sending Bangladeshis even to Sudan, where a deadly civil war is going on since long.
The human trafficking network lures youths with the promise of sending them to Europe at a cheap cost. Innocent people respond to the gang with the hope of a better life.
At one stage, the syndicate prepares passports, collects visas and tickets under their own supervision. Later they take a good sum of money. Installments of payment depend on the financial capacities of the victims.
Approximately the gang takes Tk around 7 to 8 lakh from each victim. Around five lakh has to be paid in advance, and another around 3 lakh on reaching Libya. The rest of the amount is taken from the family members of the victims in Bangladesh after the victims reach Libya.
Sending to Libya from Bangladesh
The human trafficking network uses various routes to send victims to Libya from Bangladesh. They often change the routes to dodge the law enforcing agencies. They also select new routes considering the risk factors from time to time. But recently they have been using these routes.
Dhaka-Kolkata- Mumbai- Dubai – Egypt- Libya
The gang keeps all the victims under the foreign members of the network when they reach Dubai.
Members of the syndicate from Libya send a document called ‘Morakapa’ to the gang leaders at Dubai. Foreign agents hand over these documents to the victims in Dubai. Using these papers, victims are sent to Tripoli of Libya from Dubai. In this route, they use a short transit at Egypt. Bangladeshi human traffickers receive the victims at Benghazi and send them to Tripoli in Libya.
Sending to Europe from Libya
When the victims arrive at Tripoli, Bangladeshi agents receive them. They have to stay a few days in Tripoli. Bangladeshi agents forcibly take huge amounts of money from the family members and relatives of every victim in the name of sending them to Europe. After taking money, these victims are handed over to other foreign traffickers who stay near Tripoli port for trafficking them to Europe. The syndicate members keep the victims in their secret dens.
During their stay, they have to learn various tactics including driving boats on sea. Some highly skilled trainers provide them training. On a dark night, several boats leave for Europe using Tunisian coastal channels. During these risky journeys, many of the victims die in incidents. Traffickers throw the bodies into the deep sea.
RAB officers came to know that the twenty six victims who were shot dead hailed from Madaripur, Shariatpur,Kishoreganj and Magura districts. They were going to Europe through different trafficking syndicates.
Tiles contractor turns human trafficking boss
Ring leader Haji Kamal is mainly a tile-fitting contractor. He is not only involved in human trafficking to Europe, but also involved in trafficking to different Middle Eastern countries.
As he is a tiles contactor, large numbers of labourers contact him. He lures them saying that they will earn Tk 5 to six thousand per day, instead of earning Tk 500 to 800 in Bangladesh.
He also informs them that there are huge demands for tile fitters in Libya.
He also tells them that they will be charged only Tk 1 lakh before going to Libya. After arriving in Libya, their family members will pay the rest Tk 4 lakh. Thus he traps innocent victims in Bangladesh. After they arrive in Libya, other members of the gang take the victims hostage. The criminals also extract ransom from family members of the victims.
They physically torture the victims demanding extra money. To realize the ransoms , they video the torturing and send clips to the family members and relatives of the victims. They sometimes demand ransom over telephone directly from the family members living in Bangladesh.
Large numbers of victims also die due to starvation in the remote jungle areas while travelling. They are sometimes arrested by foreign police . Thus, the image of the country is tarnished for the human trafficking networks.
RAB personnel arrested Haji Kamal for masterminding the human trafficking.
Earlier on Sunday, a case was filed with Bhairab Police Station in Kishoreganj in this connection.
Kamal has already trafficked four hundred victims in association with a strong foreign syndicate. The gang works in three tiers, the first in selecting victims, the second, sending them to Libya and the third, sending them to Europe.