Monday, 27 September, 2021

No let-up in women trafficking

Shamima and Sumaiya (pseudonym) were friends. The former recently got acquainted with Dubai expatriate Apu on Facebook when he visited the country in February last. Shamima along with her friend Sumaiya met Apu in Signboard area of Narayanganj.

During the meeting, Apu offered Sumaiya a job at a Dubai shopping mall with a salary of Tk 50,000. When Sumaiya agreed to his proposal, Apu asked her to keep the matter secret from her family members and she did so accordingly.

Getting her consent, Apu took Sumaiya to Dubai with a passport and visa at his own expense. However, instead of giving her a job at the shopping mall, he forced her into prostitution. Elite force Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) has recently arrested four members of this gang following a complaint lodged with it.

Organised human-trafficking gangs are sending Bangladeshi women abroad with tempting job offers.

They are trafficking simple and beautiful women to different countries, including the UAE, with a promise of giving them good jobs there.

In this way, a large number of women are falling victims to human trafficking every year. But the low conviction rate in trafficking cases is encouraging the traffickers to continue such evil act in the country.

Sources said gang members prepare all the papers, including passport, visa and ticket, for the targeted women. However, there is a condition that the matter should be kept secret from the family members.

The victims are forced into sex trade after they were sent abroad with various temptations.

Members of RAB-3 have arrested four members, including a woman, of a human trafficking ring from Demra in the capital, Keraniganj on the outskirts of the city and Manikganj district on August 1. The arrestees are Shamima Akhter, Shankar Biswas, Sheikh Hanif Miah and Jewel Hossain.

Additional Superintendent of Police Beena Rani Das of RAB-3 said the insolvent women were offered handsome salaried jobs in Dubai by the gang.

After reaching there, their passports were taken away and they were forced to take part in immoral activities, she added.

The RAB official further said the operation was carried out when the mother of a victim came to the RAB-3 office and lodged a complaint.

Faruk Hossain, deputy commissioner (DC) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, said organised gangs of women traffickers are active in Bangladesh. “We’re always alert so that these women traffickers are arrested.”

“The way we’re working, we hope women traffickers will no longer be able to work actively in the future. We’ll do whatever it takes to arrest women traffickers in the future,” he said.

Speaking to multiple victims, it was learned that they were sexually abused in different places, including Dubai, after they were trafficked there in the name of good jobs. There are many Bangladeshi girls in Dubai. Many of them have fallen ill.

But they are not given any treatment. They are not even sent to the country.

Earlier, the trafficking rings used various tactics to traffic women with the support of travel agencies. Now they have taken a new tactic. The women are now sent abroad in the name of giving jobs. But they are used as sex workers once they are trafficked.

Assistant Professor Md Tawohidul Haque of the Institute of Social Welfare and Research at Dhaka University told the Daily Sun, “Trafficking in women from Bangladesh has always been more or less the same. Women are sold themselves by falling into various scams. Especially outside the country, unscrupulous gangs are trafficking women with various kinds of temptations, including lucrative job offers.”

But the traffickers who are caught come out of jail taking the opportunity of the loopholes in the law, he said, adding that the government has also to be strict in this regard.

Tawohidul further said awareness campaign should be taken so that the trafficking rings cannot persuade the unemployed women in any way. “The local administration along with public representatives should play a role in raising social awareness against trafficking. Besides, we need to use social power for the safety of women. Exemplary punishment should be meted out to the offenders with a zero tolerance against women trafficking.”