Migrants from all over Bangladesh use Chittagong airport to fly Kolkata airport and then to Mumbai, before taking a flight to Dubai. From Dubai the illegal migrants finally fly to Libya and try getting into Europe.
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) officials told Easternlink that all the 40 odd Bangladeshi illegal migrant labour who were attacked in Libya on May 28 had taken this route to reach the North African country.
26 of them were killed on spot and two died later in hospital after family members of a Libyan contractor fired on them. The Bangladeshis had killed the Libyan contractor , accusing him of continuous extortion and physical torture . That provoked the massive retaliation.
The RAB has this week picked up 6 illegal labour exporters including their ring leader Haji Kamal who had send most of the massacre victims to Libya via India and Dubai.
“Kamal has so far sent 400 Bangladesh workers illegally to Libya. That includes the 38 who were caught up in the massacre at Mizda,” RAB officials said.
2 of the 26 who died in Libya Mohammad Ali and Mahbub had been sent by the trafficker Khabiruddin and Helaluddin Hilu. Another Rajon Khandaker from Bhairab, Kishorganj was sent by another Trafficker Shahid Miah. Injured migrant Janu Mia was sent by the traffickers Khabiruddin and Helaluddin . RAB has arrested all alongwith Haji Kamal.
Bangladesh has strongly protested to Libya and international organisations , asking for arrest and trial of the perpetrators of the massacre at Mizda, 180 kms south of capital Tripoli.
But neither Libya nor most labour-receiving Arab countries are signatories to theUniversal Declaration of Human Rights that ensures equal treatment of all human beings for rights and dignity.
As of December 2019, only 55 countries have ratified the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all migrant workers and members of their families (ICRMW).
In the context of the lack of a globally agreed protection instrument for the migrants, a holistic and comprehensive document, known as the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) has been signed by 193 states including worker receiving countries to cover all the dimensions including human rights of the migrants. It is also the first intergovernmental negotiated agreement.
The labour migration to Libya was halted by an order by Bangladesh Supreme court in the wake of huge trafficking incidents in the Mediterranean Sea. That is when the illegal operators like Haji Kamal stepped.
The traffickers avoid the Dhaka airport and used the Chittagong airport to send people to the Middle East countries via India and Nepal.
Human traffickers have become active during the coronavirus pandemic .
Thanks to the pandemic, the regular migration has shrunk and they took the opportunity of this virus crisis to boost trafficking in the Middle East and tge Mediterranean region. Many Bangladeshis were caught trying to enter Europe from these areas..
“We’ve inked an agreement to bring them back. Aftet receiving information from the Bangladesh missions and in cooperation with the law enforcement, we then took some effective measures. So, the intensity of human trafficking was quite tolerable in the year of 2017,” former foreign secretary Shahidul Huq told Easternlink.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) OF Bangladesh Police has now filed a case against 36 people involved in human trafficking and held tgem responsible the massacre at Mizda in Libya .
Sujan Mridha’s father Kabul Mridha has filed a case with Gopalganj’s Muksudpur police station . Sujan was one of the 26 killed in Libya. The main accused in the case in Madaripur is affected by Covid-19.
Meanwhile, five cases have been filed in 4 police stations in different districts of Bangladesh in connection with human trafficking in Libya. Police have remanded one accused in a case filed at Bhairab police station in Kishoreganj for five days. Three cases have been registered in Madaripur.2 people have been arrested.
Earlier on 9th May, 37 Bangladeshis among others died in a boat capsize in the Mediterranean Sea while attempting to reach Europe from Libya. Members of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) arrested the prime accused Rafiqul Islam from Sylhet on Monday, June 1, 2020.
At least five separate cases were filed against Rafiqul and his family members for alleged involvement in human trafficking. Rafiqul arrested from Bishwanath upazila in Sylhet in a human trafficking case filed after 37 Bangladeshis drowned in the Mediterranean Sea on May 9 in 2019.
Obain Rakhain, assistant superintendent of police and media officer of RAB-9, said they arrested Rafiqul in the evening and kept him in their custody. Rafiqul is one of the six accused in the human trafficking case filed with Bishwanath Police Station on November 28, 2019. At least five separate cases were filed against Rafiqul and his family members for alleged involvement in human trafficking.
Illegal trafficking to Libya was fully on although export of manpower had been prohibited for the country. Obain claimed that the traffickers were using the airport as their “safe gateway” for travelling by air.
Law enforcers have held three suspected human traffickers from the airport on 2015-16 and found out that foreigners were involved with middlemen in such acts.
On May 12 2015, CID, the police crime investigative unit of Bangladesh, rescued 11 persons moments before they could be trafficked to Libya on a Dubai flight.
A day before, the police had detained three suspected human traffickers from Borhopol area of Chittagong and recovered 33 passports – 17 with Libyan visas and one with an Egyptian visa on them.
The detained confessed that they had been trafficking people through the Shah Amanat International Airport and had trafficked around 500 people to Libya in the one month before being arrested.In its latest drive against trafficking,
Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) rescued 39 people from the airport on 12TH October,2016. The rescued gave statements that they got interested in taking the “opportunity” of going abroad after seeing many of their relatives and neighbours fly to Libya and Italy by using the same route.
Remittance from Bangladesh workers abroad pegged at more than an annual $ 25 billion, is the second biggest foreign exchanger for Bangladesh economy after garments.
The Sheikh Hasina government has taken strong steps to regularise labour exports because legal migrants send back remittances through banks benefitting national ecomony , while illegals used non-official channels like hawala and hundi because they have no official status in the host country.
” That is why our government cracks down hard on illegal manpower exports , unlike previous governments. We discourage illegal migration to all countries including India,” said Awami League leader Ajay Sarkar.