In May this year, an incident in which 26 Bangladeshi migrants were killed by human trafficking gangs in the Mediterranean city of Tripoli, in Libya, revealed a terrifying human trafficking racket in Bangladesh, which included Bangladeshi recruiting agencies, airport immigration police and organised gangs working with international criminals.
Survivors lived to tell the spine-chilling story of the killing spree of how they were enticed from their homes by members of these gangs, promising lucrative high paying jobs abroad. Each of them paid 10 to 15 lakhs to these gangs as cost of passage and documents. But once they were abroad, they were totally in the grasp of the criminals as they were neither given genuine visas nor proper jobs. Rather the poor fortune seekers were tortured by the gang members to extract more money as ransom from their families back home.Recently, 144 illegal Bangladeshi migrants were rescued by the Macedonian police from its southern border with Greece. Few weeks earlier, the Macedonian police had rescued sixty-four illegal Bangladeshi migrants from a truck on a highway near North Macedonian border with Greece. Human traffickers also dupe the innocent Bangladeshis seeking work abroad, in going to Malaysia and Thailand by trawlers via the Bay of Bengal risking their lives, as often incidents of trawler capsize take place on this route resulting in huge loss of life.
Apprehending a few people connected with the illegal human trafficking business is not going to solve the problem. As long as the Bangladeshi youths nurture dreams of going abroad to work, they will keep falling prey to the human trafficking predators. Unless the government opens awareness centres in rural areas reaching out to the youths and those who seek jobs overseas. Then, at least then, even if they decide to go abroad to work through various private channels, they will take all the necessary precautions against any severe mishaps occurring.
The Bangladeshi fortune seekers are only trying to have a better life for themselves and their families back home. Also, we must remember that the country benefits hugely from the remittance sent home by our migrant workers from abroad. Therefore, it is only to our own benefit if we equip those who seek work abroad with the correct information to safeguard our youths before they venture into the vast unknown.