At a time Covid-19 is claiming a few thousand lives globally every day, the killing of 26 Bangladesh nationals and four Sudanese in Libya may not have drawn the media attention it deserved. But the saga of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants on a long and dangerous route extending from Asia to Europe via Africa is too disturbing to be dismissed off hand. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) claims, among others, to work for enhancing cooperation on national, regional and international levels. If this is the case, why cannot the route known to many be brought under strict surveillance and plugged? Granted, the war-torn Libya's Benghazi used as an open corridor cannot be monitored because of intermittent fighting, but the border of Egypt from where the illegal migrants enter Benghazi can be sealed. The group of 38 Bangladeshi who left Bangladesh for Italy crossed Egypt's border. Before this they were flown to India and the United Arab Emirates.
How can such a large group of young men not conversant with the formalities of airports have free passage without causing doubt in the minds of the immigration officials on duty at several airports? Certainly there are facilitators who manage the formalities and the network of the international human traffickers is not only vastly spread but also very strong. This also points accusing fingers at the immigration departments or a section of those in several countries used as the trafficking route. It is unbelievable if international cooperation is strengthened, the network of traffickers cannot be busted. Reportedly, this group of Bangladesh nationals used travel visas for visiting Egypt. Do youths from villages look like tourists on a visit to the land of pyramids? Not all is well on the immigration fronts of the countries involved.
Clearly, involved here are recruiting agencies which facilitate human trafficking in exchange for far greater amount of money than the approved fees for legal travels. These dubious travel and recruiting agencies also have their local agents who lure youths with the bait of handsome overseas employment. Near and dear ones of the unfortunate Italy-bound group have named the name of the local recruiting agent from Rajoir under Madaripur. If this culprit is arrested and quizzed, all involved in the trafficking of the group can be traced. This is how the criminals can be brought to justice and such crimes rooted out.
Last but not least, people mostly young ones who opt for illegal migration cannot be exonerated from their blemishes as well. If they can manage Tk 700,000-800,000 for their illegal journey up to Libya and another amount of Tk 400,000-500,000 for crossing the Mediterranean Sea to land in Italy, why won't they use a far smaller amount for developing a small enterprise or a retail business? In this context, some NGOs have been of immense help. Let the government also create a human resource wing that will be responsible for supporting and guiding youth entrepreneurship.
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