Human trafficking to Vietnam came to the fore after the news of some 27 stranded Bangladeshis was recently disclosed.
However, an organised gang remains active in rafficking for about two years, officials and victims have said.
A University in Vietnam wanted to know from the embassy about 50 Bangladeshis in 2018. Later we came to know an organisation in Dhaka’s Mohammadpur is taking them to Vietnam promising diplomas and jobs.Samina Naj, Bangladesh ambassador to Vietnam
The officials said the gang publishes advertisements with false promises and traps people to take them to Vietnam.
Many of the trafficking victims have been sent to Malaysia and neighbouring countries, the officials said adding the victims were also forced to work for low wages in Vietnam.
Officials of the foreign ministry and Bangladesh embassy in Vietnam said they have arranged repatriation of 40 people between May 2018 and July 2020. Of them, 33 were trafficked to Vietnam.
Some 11 victims returned home with the assistance of Bangladesh embassy in Vietnam on 3 July 2020.
Prothom Alo correspondents talked to six victims. They alleged they did not get the jobs they were promised. They did not get due wages. Moreover, the traffickers cut their wages.
They met 300 to 500 Bangladeshis and most of them went to Vietnam in the last one and half years.
An organised gang at home and abroad is involved in trafficking people to Vietnam.Sumaiya Islam, BNSK executive director
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Bangladesh ambassador to Vietnam, Samina Naj said, “A University in Vietnam wanted to know from the embassy about 50 Bangladeshis in 2018. Later we came to know an organisation in Dhaka’s Mohammadpur is taking them to Vietnam promising them diplomas including jobs.”
In December 2018, the embassy informed Dhaka that a gang was sending people on tourist visas to Vietnam and they fell into trouble as there was no scope to recruit people there in this way, Naj added.
Sources in the foreign ministry said Bangladesh embassy in Vietnam sent back 10 trafficking victims to Dhaka in December 2018 and 12 victims in 2019.
Bangladesh Nari Sramik Kendra (BNSK), a rights organisation, was working for the legal support of 12 victims.
The organisation’s executive director Sumaiya Islam said, “We have talked to the victims and they said they lured into going to Vietnam. The victims were also assured that they would be taken to Italy.”
An organised gang at home and abroad is involved in trafficking people to Vietnam, she added.
It is evident from the recent incident of 27 stranded Bangladeshis that the trafficking racket has not stopped their illegal activities despite the fact that some victims were sent back about two years ago.
Some middlemen of an firm at Masjid Lane of the capital’s Naya Paltan area told Zahir Ahmed from Feni that a foam factory in Vietnam will recruit workers for 450 dollars a month.
Zahir gave Tk 320,000 to the firm and went to Vietnam in November 2019. He was given work in a saw mill and monthly wages of only 180 dollars.
Speaking to Prothom Alo, Zahir Ahmed said, “I never imagined that I had to face such a bad situation. As I spent so much money to go to Vietnam, I was determined to stay there and work. But the traffickers told the employers that they spent money to take us to Vietnam. The traffickers took away our wages. At one stage we returned home to save out lives.”
Zahir said a number of Bangladeshis in Vietnam and Bangladesh are the members of the trafficking gang.
He said he met about three hundred Bangladeshis in Ho Chi Minh City in about last six months. They went to Vietnam, trapped by the gang.
Zahir Ahmed said there is no scope of work for Bangladeshi migrants in Vietnam.
*This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Rabiul Islam.