There were 37 Bangladeshis among 60 migrants who lost their lives as the boat carrying them sunk in the Mediterranean Sea while they were attempting to reach Italy from Libya. They sold everything in the hope of earning a better livelihood for themselves. The sad news of this tragedy pains us, as much as it worries us. No words can console the members of the families who lost their loved ones in the incident.
A large boat carrying migrants left northwest Libya on Thursday night for Italy. Around 75 onboard the boat was transferred to smaller one in Tunisian maritime waters at midnight. According to Tunisian police, the small boat could not take the load and sunk within 10 minutes. Among the 17 survivors, 14 including an infant were Bangladeshi. They drifted in the freezing cold Mediterranean Sea for 14 hours.
UNCHR said, 1 in 3 migration aspirants died while trying to reach Europe through sea from Libya in three months this year. According to International Organisation for Migration (IOM), 17,000 immigrants crossed the Mediterranean to reach Europe this year and 500 died on their way. A handful among the migrants who reached Europe crossing the Mediterranean Sea is Bangladeshi.
It is horrifying that a gang of local and international human traffickers are sending these dinghies mid sea loaded with migrants and refugees. They do not even bother whether the boats reach the destination or the people onboard survive. They only think making a quick earning. Those people were crammed in a small room in Libya for three months before their journey to the sea. This is a disgrace to humanity. The identity of the people onboard the boat indicates that traffickers target the people of countries that are plagued with unemployment.
This is not the first instance of Bangladeshi migrants drowning in the sea. A lot of Bangladeshi people died en route Malaysia some years ago. Not only in the sea, people lost their lives in the deathtraps in deserts and forests while trying to migrate to other countries. The few lucky ones who can reach their coveted land end up hiding or in jail.
What is the reason for the recurrence of such accidents and deaths? Those who push the fortune seekers to death are often unpunished. Those traffickers also maintain a strong internal network. These deaths will continue unless we root out that evil clique. A manpower recruitment agency in Sylhet has locked up its office after receiving the news of the death of Bangladeshi people in the Mediterranean. They should be found out and punished at any cost.
Fortune seeking youth must be aware of the dangers associated with such attempts. The government should be strict to ensure that the innocent youth are not cheated by human traffickers. Strict measures should be taken against such culprits. Also, we must create employment for the youth for a permanent and sustainable solution of this problem.