Migrant workers’ perilous voyage to Europe

184 Bangladeshis rescued

Esaraf Hossain

16 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Many Bangladeshi job seekers, who have fallen prey to human traffickers, make dangerous voyages in the Mediterranean to reach different countries of Europe.

Organised gangs of Bangladeshi human traffickers in cooperation with their foreign cohorts are sending migrants to Europe in tiny engine boats on the sea route.

Falling prey to the gang, many innocent people have already gone bankrupt.

In exchange for lakhs of taka, the gangs are sending many people with false visas to different countries, including Malaysia, Singapore, Belgium, South Africa, Italy, Greece and England.

While travelling by these tiny engine boats, many fortune-seekers often drown in the seawater or are arrested by law enforcers.

According to the Libyan newspaper, Libyan home ministry sources said that the country’s coastguards have so far rescued more than 9,000 migrants from the Macedonian sea in the last several months.

The migrants were trying to reach different countries of Europe from Libya, it reported.

But in 2020, more than 7,000 migrants have so far rescued from the same water way.

 According to the International Organisation for Migrants (IOM), a total of 813 migrants have lost lives on their perilous journey from January 1 to June 12 this year.   

Meanwhile, Libyan coastguards and Macedonia police in separate operations rescued 521 migrants, including 184 Bangladeshi nationals, from the sea.

They boarding on engine boats were travelling from Libya to different countries of Europe, including Italy, Spain and Greece.

An official in Bangladesh embassy in Libya confirmed the message on Sunday.

 A Libyan newspaper reported that Libyan coastguards in two separate drives rescued this 439 fortune-seeker from the Macedonian sea on Thursday. The rescued people are belonging to different countries of Asia and Africa continents.

In another incident, police in North Macedonia said law enforcers in two separate operations discovered 82 migrants, including 20 Bangladeshis, hidden in vehicles on Friday. Police said a joint team of border guards from North Macedonia and Slovenia found 62 people hidden in a truck on the main north-south highway near the border with Greece and arrested two Serbian nationals, ages 33 and 37.

The majority of passengers, 46, were from Pakistan; 13 were from Eritrea; and three were from Mali.

Despite border closures and restrictions on movement during the Covid-19 pandemic, human trafficking gangs have remained active in Balkans.

North Macedonia is a transit route for migrants, heading north from Greece to wealthier European countries.

Hundreds of thousands have travelled through the country over the last eight years.

Detective sources said taking advantage of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, an organised gang of human traffickers who went into hiding in the face of massive drives by law enforcers earlier have reportedly started returning and got involved in trafficking many innocent fortune-seekers abroad again.

They are sending people with fake visas to many foreign countries, including European countries and Malaysia, the Middle East.

Several organised local trafficking gangs having link with International Traffickers and airport Immigration officials continued trafficking a number of Bangladeshi job seekers abroad for long, detective police sources said.

According to the victims, many cheated gangs alluring them to give good job worth monthly salary of Bangladeshi Tk between 70,000 and 80,000 in different countries of Europe.

Most of those people sent are caught and finally returned home with empty-handed.