Coast Guard members yesterday rescued 200 Bangladeshi and Myanmar nationals who were being trafficked to Malaysia in two Thai cargo trawlers.
Eleven crews -- six Myanmar and five Thai nationals -- were arrested from the vessels for attempting to smuggle the people out.
Arif Hossain, station commander of St Martin Coast Guard, told The Daily Star a coast guard team conducted a raid around 5:00am and seized the trawlers near St Martin's Island.
Among the 200 people rescued, 105 are Bangladeshis and the rest are Rohingya citizens, including 20 women and 17 children, he said.
"The crews have admitted to smuggling the people to Malaysia. They also mentioned the names of some brokers who are involved in the incident," he added.
The foreign nationals were handed over to police, and they will be produced in court after a case is filed, said Md Farhad, officer-in-charge of Teknaf Police Station.
The rescued Bangladeshi citizens will be handed over to their family members after verifying information regarding their addresses.
The traffickers brought the Bangladeshi and Myanmar nationals to Teknaf from different parts of the country, said Lt Dewan Rafiqul Awal, station commander of Teknaf Coast Guard.
A series of human trafficking events have occurred in the last couple of years through the Bay of Bengal, which indicates the presence of a strong trans-national trafficking ring in the region.
On February 2 this year, Rab members rescued 50 people from Ukhia upazila in Cox's Bazar during a trafficking effort, and arrested two traffickers.
Earlier on January 10, police arrested four middlemen and rescued 60 fortune seekers in Chittagong city while they were being trafficked to Malaysia.
On June 17 last year, police recovered six bodies from the Bay of Bengal after a Malaysia-bound trawler with 30 passengers capsized in the sea.