Around 2,000 women who were trafficked to India have been brought back to the country through the legal process in the last 10 years
Human traffickers have been targeting children and adolescents from socially and economically distressed families where the use of social media platforms such as Facebook, TikTok has been rising alarmingly for the last few years, so finds a study.
The Brac Migration Program released the information at a virtual discussion on “Human Trafficking and Irregular Migration: Situation Analysis, Challenges and Actions” on Thursday ahead of the International Day Against Human Trafficking after analysing data from 675 trafficked women.
The study was conducted by Brac University's James P Grant School of Public Health on trafficking in women and children on the Indo-Bangladesh border.
Around 2,000 women who had been trafficked to India were brought back to the country through the legal process in the last 10 years, the study said.
Although Bangladesh’s law enforcement agencies do not have any confirmed figures on how many women and children are trafficked every year, India’s Border Security Force (BSF) has claimed that the number is around 50,000.
Nasima Begum, chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), said: "How are they getting various Indian identity cards? We have to see how so many people are leaving on travel visas. There are so many traffickers, but why only 71 people were convicted in 36 cases in nine years under the Human Trafficking Act?”
Besides, Bangladesh is also top of the list of those entering Europe illegally by crossing the Medeterrian Sea.
According to UNHCR, in the first six months of this year, at least 3,332 Bangladeshis entered Europe illegally while 60,000 people have entered Europe irregularly in the last decade.
The Brac study revealed that mostly people aged between 26 and 40 were trying to go to Europe.
Shariful Hasan, head of the migration program, said, "It is an embarrassment for us that Bangladeshis are the first (on the list) to go to Europe by sea. The list includes Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan and Eritrea. These countries suffer from war or poverty. That is not the case for Bangladesh. Still, our people are going to Europe like this.”
After talking to 2,284 people returning from Europe and Libya in the past few years, Brac concluded that people hailing from Sylhet, Sunamganj, Madaripur, Munshiganj, Shariatpur, Dhaka, Noakhali, Kishoreganj, Brahmanbaria and Comilla had a higher tendency to migrate to Europe in an illegal way.
A person has to spend approximately Tk3-15 lakh to go to Europe in this way.
Saidur Rahman, special superintendent of police at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), said: “It is easy to investigate trafficking cases inside the country because all the information is available. However, most of the time victims of trafficking abroad do not want to give enough information. Again, in many cases, the plaintiff or the victim is not available.”
Moreover, trafficking in Rohingya refugees has not ceased either during the pandemic, as data from the UNHCR note that in 2020, at least 2,400 people crossed the seas. At least 200 people drowned in the process.
Earlier, men used to go to Thailand and Malaysia in this way, but now most of them are women and teenagers.