Human traffickers have become active in Teknaf and in the last one week, 29 women and children were detained by law enforcers while they were on their way to Malaysia by sea.
On Feb 11, a trawler carrying 138 people drowned near Saint Martin on its way to Malaysia. In this incident, 21 dead bodies were recovered.
Law enforcers say that lured by traffickers, Rohingyas and Bangladeshis are undertaking perilous journeys to Malaysia. Specialists feel that if the law enforcers are lax in their vigilance the trafficking will rise.
Police outpost in charge in Baharchara, Teknaf, Liaqat Ali, said: “In the last few days, the police have detained many and this proves that traffickers are active in the Rohingya camps.”
Reportedly, as night deepens, a lot of suspicious movements are seen on the Teknaf-Ukhia roads. Many women who are trafficked end up as sex workers.
Since 2015, law enforcers have detained more than 100 people who were trying to go to Malaysia illegally. Most were using the Kataboniap-Kochubonia jetty in Teknaf, better known as the Malaysia Airport.
UNHCR has said that between January 2018 and January 2019, more than 1,500 people crossed the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, which is fifty times more than the number who crossed between 2013 and 2015.
Leader of Leda camp in Teknaf, Mohammad Alam, observes: “This season sees less inclement weather which has triggered a rise in trafficking.”
RAB company commander of Teknaf-1, Lieutenant Mirza Shahed Mahatab, observed: “One team is working to arrest those linked to human trafficking and vigilance at camps has been increased.”
Secretary General of Cox’s Bazar citizen’s platform, HM Nazrul Islam, observed: “There is no use arresting field level brokers; the main masterminds have to be nabbed and only then trafficking will stop.”