As the law enforcement agencies have taken stern position to check the human trafficking through deep sea route, the traffickers find out a new route to continue their illegal trade using the Chittagong Shah Amanat International Airport as a new gateway, said the law enforcement officials.
Sources of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) said to the Dhaka tribune, human traffickers of Bangladesh with the help of international syndicates have trafficked people to different countries especially war-ravaged Libya and Iraq by using Dubai-Turkey-Libya routes with forged visas and documents. And traffickers are using Chittagong airport as safe gateway for trafficking.
The new route and the safe gateway of smugglers was unearthed after the elite force nabbed 39 people from airport on Thursday, while they were going to Libya without valid papers and documents .
Lieutenant Commander Mifta Uddin Ahmed, chief commanding officer of RAB-7, said: “Against the backdrop of strict surveillance over deep sea, the human traffickers are using Chittagong Airport to traffic people to Libya and Italy by fake visas.”
Several human traffickers’ syndicates with the help of immigration personnel are running their business, said law enforcement sources.
Wishing anonymity an official of RAB-7, said to the Dhaka Tribune that local syndicates comprising section of local hotels, travel agencies and a section of immigration personnel of Chittagong Airport, are involved with the whole illegal process.
Claiming that RAB are very much alert stop human trafficking, RAB officials said, during the rescue drive, the traffickers managed to send 21 persons to Libya via Dubai and Turkey through a flight of Air Arabia.
“Another 500 persons had already left for Libya and Italy in similar fashion,” said RAB-7 boss.
Mifta said: “We gleaned 30 names of the Bangladeshi agents of international trafficking racket and two travels agencies located at Sylhet, who were sending people to aboard illegally, after rescuing the 39.”
After rescuing the victims, the RAB-7 boss, said: “The traffickers promised to provide good jobs and free journey, while the local agents of international racket collected lower-income people from the different parts of the country and gathered them in Dhaka and Chittagong. During this time, unidentified persons provided them their passports and forged visas.”
On June 20, in this year, Ansar members at the airport nabbed four human traffickers while they were trying to traffic few persons to Turkey. Later, a mobile court sentenced the detainees to different term of jail.
Apart from that on May 12, 2016, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) rescued 11 persons from a flight of Fly Dubai and arrested three suspected human traffickers.
However, traffickers have already smuggled many people in several war-torn country such as Libya and Iraq.
Abdul Hamid Tipu, a detainee, said: “I made a contract at Tk6.50 lakh with the brokers for Italy and I gave them Tk50, 000 in cash as an initial cost.”
Abdul also said: “From my area, many of my acquaintances have already gone abroad without any penny through the route with the help of agents.”
Mehedi Hasan, 20, a resident in Dhaka’s Jatrabari area, who was detained just before immigration check, said: “I came in Chittagong on October 10 and stayed in a Hotel in Riajuddin Bazar. I was supposed to go to Libya where I have to pay TK4.50 lakh after landing.”
When contacted, Arefin Jewel, additional deputy commissioner (immigration) of Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) said: “We did not find any problem with their visas and passports.”
Jahirul Islam, assistant director of Chittagong Bureau of Manpower, said: “Despite knowing the risk, the low-income people are willing to go aboard for a better life.”