Malaysia’s immigration department rescued 59 Bangladeshi victims of a human trafficking syndicate in an operation in an area called Desa Petaling, reports Malaysian daily The New Straits Times.
The authorities reportedly arrested a Bangladeshi man believed to be main culprit and two more men and a woman suspected to be collaborators, in connection with the trafficking.
They were assured of jobs in Malaysia, and told that each of them would have to pay RM18,000 to RM20,000 to enter Malaysia through Indonesia, according to the report published on Tuesday.
The victims were rescued during a 4:30am operation conducted by an enforcement team at two condominium premises in the said area, said immigration department director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali.
“The victims’ mobile phones, passports and cash were confiscated by the syndicate and they were not allowed to make any phone calls,” he said in a statement.
Mustafar was quoted to have said that the victims were threatened with bodily harm if they did not obey instructions or tried to escape from the transit home.
“They took a flight from Bangladesh to Jakarta. They were later taken to a [remote] location before they travelled by boat and were smuggled into Malaysia,” he said.
While in Indonesia, the victims were placed in a transit house and were controlled by the syndicate, the report said.
“They also claimed they were forced to sell all their belongings and property in their country, including their houses and land, to get money to come to Malaysia,” said the director general.