The tragic death of 37 Bangladeshi workers in a boat capsize in the Mediterranean Sea, on their way to Italy from Libya, is shocking. According to survivors, the Italy-bound boat had 51 Bangladeshis on board when it sank. This tragic incident has once again brought to light the fact that many transnational human trafficking gangs are openly operating in the country and luring people with the promise of a better future in many European countries. And after extracting huge amounts of money from the migrants, these gangs leave them in dangerous conditions in foreign countries where the migrants do not get the jobs they are promised and have to live in slave-like conditions.
In this tragic case also, the workers took this precarious journey out of sheer desperation—after facing a miserable situation in Libya in the last five months, where many of the victims were kept in a crowded jail-like condition. Also, the workers did not want to return home as they paid a hefty amount of money to the traffickers. Although Bangladesh has stopped sending workers to Libya considering the political situation in the country in 2014, some transnational human trafficking gangs in Bangladesh, in cooperation with their counterparts in Libya and other countries, reportedly continue to send workers there.
It is totally unacceptable that while our government has been claiming economic growth and development all the time, people are seeking greener pastures in countries far and wide and are forced to take risky journeys often ending in disaster. The government must take effective measures to address the issue of human trafficking. It must make all-out efforts to apprehend the trafficking gangs. Also steps must be taken to make our workers aware of the risks involved in such illegal migration, so that they do not fall prey to the traffickers.