The leader of the ring Rifadul Islam alias Hridoy is said to have trafficked more than a thousand women to India. Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Tejgaon Division of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Mohammad Shahidullah said Mehedi Hasan, Mohiuddin and Abdul Quader were arrested from Dabakpara Kaliani area bordering Satkhira.

These women have been trafficked, being promised to be made TikTok models and getting high-paid jobs. Ashraful Mandal alias Boss Rafi, one of the ringleaders of the women trafficking gang, has been arrested by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). There are many more such gangs involved in trafficking women. Such scattered drives will not yield any results, if such gangs are not discovered.

These alarming reports of trafficking women have diminished our socio-economic progress. In our efforts to prevent women trafficking, we take one step forward and two steps back. Bangladesh had gone up one step in the 2020 Human Trafficking or Global Trafficking in Persons (TIP) index. Tiers were upgraded from minus two to tier two.

Many countries, including the United States, praised this progress. According to a report, 200,000 men, women and children have been trafficked from Bangladesh in the last 10 years. Every year, 20,000 women and children are trafficked to India, Pakistan and the Middle East. According to another account 50,000 women have been trafficked to India or other countries through India.

Of the 312 human trafficking cases tried in 2020, 256 were related to women trafficking and sexual violence. How can trafficking rings continue these crimes unhindered where normal movement at the border is closed during pandemic? What are the border guards of the two countries doing? It seems that the Indian border guards are not as ruthless towards human traffickers as they are towards cattle smugglers. But even our border guards cannot avoid responsibility for these crimes.

We do not want a single person from Bangladesh to be trafficked abroad, tortured and oppressed. And human trafficking should not be seen as a mere law and order violation. Unemployment is one of the reasons for human trafficking abroad. There is a severe shortage of employment in the country. The trafficking rings take advantage of the helplessness of the unemployed youth to achieves their nefarious purposes. The government's economic plans need to place more emphasis on employment. The Bangladesh that we want to build as a middle-income country, cannot afford to bear the blame for women trafficking.

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