Why people are so desperate remains the root cause of the problem
Bangladesh’s development journey has been one which is definitely worth being proud of -- from the ravages of a war to one of the fastest growing economies in the world, we have risen from the ashes to fulfill the Millennium Development Goals, and are well on our way to fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals.
But within this journey of success, undoubtedly, there have been many who have been left behind, which is why Bangladeshis constitute the highest percentage of refugees and migrants -- 14.5% of more than 47,000 people -- making perilous journeys across the seas to reach countries like Italy, Greece, Spain, and Cyprus, seeking better opportunities.
This inevitably begs the question: What is leading so many of our fellow countrymen and women to risk their lives in such a manner, who oftentimes perish at sea or end up in detention centres as illegal immigrants, or if they do somehow make it into their countries, they live on without dignity, working relentlessly under inhumane conditions?
Much of the problem stems from local traffickers who lure unsuspecting Bangladeshis with promises of payment and living conditions which they have no intention of fulfilling, preying on vulnerable citizens desperate for sources of income.
But why people are so desperate remains the root cause of the problem: Unemployment combined with a lack of relevant skills and opportunities have contributed to a national crisis which sees millions of young individuals without the hope of making ends meet, a problem that the pandemic has only exacerbated.
It is up to the authorities to ensure that no Bangladeshi citizen ever finds themselves to be so desperate as to trust strangers in this manner and risk their lives just to earn a living. Law enforcement must crack down on these traffickers and the government would do well to expand the socials safety net in order to provide for citizens who have no way to land on their feet.