Amid the growing menace of human trafficking to some South Asian countries through risky sea routes, the government is preparing a new ‘work-plan’ to stop the crime as it may deal a severe blow to Bangladesh’s international labour market.
The ministry is planning to create a ‘Special Squad’ with members of different law-enforcement agencies to conduct drives against human traffickers on maritime border areas of Cox’s Bazar and Chittagong, said Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Engineer Khandker Mosharraf Hossain.Voicing the fear that the rising human trafficking incidents may close the door of Bangladeshi labour market to the Middle East and Malaysia, he said.
“The recent incidents will spoil our image and goodwill in the international labour market. Even some countries might stop hiring Bangladeshi workers,” said Khandker Mosharraf.
Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira), Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), experts and intellectuals also expressed deep concern over the looming risk of losing the international labour market.
The minister further said the Home Ministry and the Foreign Ministry should come forward and work in coordination with his ministry to resolve the crisis.
Replying to a question in this regard, State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan said bilateral meetings will be arranged with Myanmar and Thailand to deal with human trafficking.
The Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and The Coast Guard have been directed to apply rigorous strategies as per the new plan to arrest brokers and human traffickers, Asaduzzaman added.
The minister also said punitive actions would be taken against the human traffickers according to the relevant law.
In an effort to prevent human trafficking, every fisherman and boatman, who work in the sea, will be given an identity card while each boat will be given a registration number, he added.
Sources at the Foreign Ministry said the government is trying to resolve the problem diplomatically through Government-to-Government (G-G) communication.
Recently, law enforcement agencies of Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia rescued over 1000 Bangladeshi and Rohinga jobseekers while going to different South Asian countries counties illegally using sea routes.
The issue came in the limelight when some mass graves of trafficking victims were unearthed in the jungles of Southern Thailand, and also in Malaysia.
According to some international media reports, a large number of Bangladeshi citizens and Rohingyas have got stranded on boats in the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean following recent crackdown on human traffickers by some South Asian countries.
The Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment minister also said awareness raising programmes will be arranged for people to stop human trafficking. – UNB