The Financial Express

Traffickers now luring job seekers to Vietnam

'Certain quarters acting abroad against BD'

| Updated: July 09, 2020 12:36:09

Reuters file photo used only for representation Reuters file photo used only for representation

Human traffickers are now presenting Vietnam as a promising job market to lure Bangladeshi nationals to go there.

Recently dozens of Bangladeshis fell victim to the human traffickers, who took them to that country and then disappeared.

Law-enforcers have identified two recruiting agencies in this connection, officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the FE.

"Though Vietnam is not a good job destination, many Bangladeshis were brought to that country by some dishonest manpower recruiting agencies," Foreign Minister (FM) Dr A K Abdul Momen told the FE recently.

Officials said those two recruiting agencies were operating from Paltan area in the capital. But they declined to disclose their names for the sake of 'fair investigation'.

One of the victims, rescued by the Bangladesh Mission in Vietnam, posted a video footage in the social media, narrating their sufferings and how one of them died in Vietnam.

The person, who identified himself as Jahir, said four of them were taken to Vietnam by a recruiting agency four months ago.

"They told us that we would be offered job in Vietnam very soon. But they disappeared after some days. One of us, named Nazmul, fell seriously ill after coming here. Nobody was here to look after him or to take him to hospital, and finally he died," Jahir said.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen said the government is adamant to clamp down the traffickers.

But he also blamed guardians of the victims for the tragedy.

"When they send their relatives abroad for job, they have to scrutinise properly. Often they rely on human traffickers without knowing the details."

Commenting on the recent incidents of demonstration by some 27 Bangladeshis in front of the Bangladesh Mission in Vietnam, the foreign minister said these people are spreading propaganda against Bangladesh in the social media at a time when the country's image is getting brighter around the world for its success in many fronts.

"There are reasons to believe that certain quarters are purposefully doing harm to the government of Bangladesh against the backdrop of its recent success."

"Law-enforcing agencies in Bangladesh are already working to nab the traffickers, who were involved in sending people to Vietnam. Those people, who are being lured by traffickers and illegally going abroad, are also responsible for tarnishing the image of Bangladesh."

The mission in Hanoi informed the foreign ministry that 27 Bangladeshi nationals, who were tempted by human traffickers to go to that country recently, are now temporarily staying at a hotel, provided by the Vietnam authorities concerned.

A special flight was arranged to bring them home from Vietnam on July 2, and 11 Bangladeshis returned home by it. But these 27 Bangladeshis declined to avail the flight, as they did not want to pay airfare.

After departure of the flight to Dhaka on the day, they attempted to enter the Bangladesh Embassy in Vietnam, which is a violation of both international law and Vietnam's local law.

"These unruly people first declined to fly home. Secondly, if they had anything to say, they could state that in a disciplined manner, rather than attempting to forcibly occupy the embassy in a foreign land, by tarnishing the country's image abroad," the foreign minister also said.

"They are now giving threats in the social media that if their demands are not met, they will similarly occupy all Bangladesh embassies abroad."

"They went live on social media, and made derogatory remarks against the country. Such subversive activities, while staying in a friendly foreign country, are not acceptable by any standard."

The government of Bangladesh, as recognition to all its hard work, has recently been upgraded to Tier-2 in the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) country report, released by the US State Department.

"These twenty seven people were also listed for repatriation. They declined to avail the flight, stating that the government has to pay for their airfare."

Bangladesh government does not have any provision to pay airfare of returnee illegal workers. In all repatriation flights, the passengers themselves pay for their passage.

"In case of flights carrying workers, the employer country pays for the airfare. They do not belong to this category, as they did not go with employment visas. They went to Vietnam as visitors."

Vietnam is not a country where much work opportunities are available for prospective foreign workers. Brokers traffic Bangladeshi workers there, giving them the hope of taking to prosperous countries, such as - Australia, New Zealand and other rich parts of South East Asia, the minister added.

Foreign ministry officials said because of flight restrictions, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it will take time to resume flights on the Dhaka-Hanoi route.


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