According to the findings of research, various social media including Facebook is being used in large scale for human trafficking for the last couple of years.
In most of the cases, the girls were lured with promises of jobs, or prospects of becoming film actresses or models. Later they were sold out to human traffickers.
Use of technology by human traffickers came up for discussion anew after a video of inhuman torture of a Bangladeshi girl in India had gone viral last year. In connection with this incident, Indian police arrested six people including Rifadul Islam alias TikTok Ridhoy, a resident of Moghbazar in the capital city.
Meanwhile, police and RAB arrested 12 people of two gangs on the charges of trafficking women. These two gangs trafficked about two thousand women to India, police and RAB have claimed. There are no statistics as to how many women and children have been trafficked to India. However, about two thousand trafficked women have been brought back home in the last ten years.
Meanwhile, the number of people is trying to enter Europe crossing the Mediterranean, Bangladesh is the 3rd on the list. At least 12,636 Bangladeshis have entered Europe in this way in the first six months of 2022. About 65,000 Bangladeshis have entered Europe in the last one decade. Various social media are being used in this trafficking. There are various groups on Facebook called 'Libya to Italy'.
Use of technology
As the technology is being used in human trafficking, so it is being used to protect from trafficking. This technology was used to rescue Shilpi Akhtar, a Class 10 student of Gazipur from Bengaluru of India in February.
The student came to Dhaka with a boy in January. After a several days, the girl phoned her mother and said she along several others were trafficked to India. Later the traffickers sent picture and video of Shilpi and said she is being sent back home. The family instantly handed over the picture and video to the police and requested legal steps. Later police with the cooperation of Indian police and law enforcers rescued the girl and brought her back home.
Procrastination in trial despite filing cases
The government formulated the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act in 2012. Some 6,520 cases have been filed on charges of trafficking over 13,000 people between 2012 and 2022. Over 31,000 people have been made accused in these cases. Only 728 cases have been disposed in last one decade. Only 96 accused have been convicted in 50 cases. Remaining accused have been acquitted of. Over 5,000 cases are now in pending. The rate of case disposal is 11 per cent. Only 2 per cent of the accused have been sentenced.
Babu from Naogaon is a justice seeker. He filed the case on 7 April under the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act. The accused arrested in this case has been realsed on bail. Trial has not been completed in nine years.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, UK-based human trafficking affairs research organisation Justice and Care's local director Md Tariqul Islam said, "The human traffickers are trapping people by misusing technology. In such a context, we have to use technology and ensure protection of people from the traps of human traffickers. Above all, those who are involved in human trafficking have to be brought to book."
*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print and online editions, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam