Sunday, June 8, 2008

Alarming rise in trafficking thru' Rajshahi border

71 rescued in 4 drives in 3 weeks

Law enforcement agencies rescued 71 people from traffickers on Rajshahi borders only in four drives in three weeks, sending a warning that trafficking has increased alarmingly in north-western frontiers.

Organised international traffickers have built a strong network in the region taking advantage of people's poverty, sources in BDR and police said. Law enforcers have increased vigilance on the border and areas nearby.

Police on June 4 rescued 16 people including five women and seven children from Seroil bus stand area in Rajshahi city as they were about to be trafficked to India through Barakuthi ghat in Padma river.

Two days back, BDR (Bangladesh Rifles) rescued 21 people of six families, including 11 children, from near Godagari border in Rajshahi. Police rescued five teenaged girls from Shiroil bus stand on May 27.

On May 13, BDR rescued 28 people of seven families including 11 children from Char Asariadaha border in Godagari.

Law enforcers said, all the victims were extremely poor and were lured with false promises of jobs in Indiaa and some Middle East countries. They were from different southern districts including Narail, Jessore and Khulna, and the five adolescent girls were from Chapainawabgaj.

The victims gave traffickers up to Tk 3000 each, the sources said.

"Only poverty made them land in the hands of traffickers", said Rajshahi Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Mokhlesur Rahman.

"In this situation, actions by law enforcement agencies can do a little", he said suggesting launching of a massive awareness campaign at grassroots level by the administration, local governments, NGOs and other socio-cultural bodies.

Deputy Commissioner of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police, Zillur Rahman, and some senior BDR officials also echoed the same sentiment.

The victims are promised good jobs, but women often land in brothels, said law enforcers.

They said traffickers mainly use 20 points in north-western border.

Family dispute is also a cause that contribute to trafficking. Sometimes, victims are kidnapped and women are lured with false promises of jobs and marriage. At times traffickers pose as prospective grooms and take girls across the border as their wives.

Recently, a gang of local drug-peddlers kidnapped a school-girl from Srimantapur village in Godagari upazila and gang-raped her. She was rescued as the traffickers were preparing to send her to India.

Chapainawabganj and Rajshahi borders are mainly used by traffickers.

"Traffickers adopt a strategy of changing routes…When they fail at one point, they try another route…Our eyes do not reach everywhere", said a senior BDR officials requesting not to be named.

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