A poor Bangladeshi woman could not hold back her tears before the audience today while remembering the days after being trafficked to Syria around two years ago.
She was supposed to go to Lebanon. Instead, she was taken to Dubai with five other women and then to Syria where she was sold to different people sometimes to work as a maid and sometimes as a sex worker.
“I was sold to a Syrian man who tortured and raped me every day, sometimes along with his friends,” mentioned the 35-year-old woman at a programme in a city hotel.
“I begged for mercy but they didn’t have any. Instead, they used to beat me so badly that I got my arms broken,” she said.
Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (Baira) and Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) jointly organised the programme to distribute financial assistance among 10 trafficking victims.
The tortured woman from Patuakhali district along with several women left Bangladesh on the promise of working as maids in Lebanon in 2015.
But the traffickers in then transported the women to Syria, where they were bought and sold and passed on to different people, with little chance of escape, said Rab officials.
In Syria, she was tortured for three months being confined in a den. The trafficking victim eventually developed kidney disease, prompting traffickers to contact her ageing mother to demand money for her safe return home.
Later, her mother contacted Rab in Dhaka. When the Rab mounted pressure on her local agent in Fakhirapul, she was brought back home at the end of 2015.
Addressing at the programme, home minister Asaduzzaman Khan warned that stern actions will be taken against the individuals and recruiting agencies sending people abroad illegally.
“We don’t want to hear brutal torture of anymore Bangladeshi woman abroad,” he said.
Rab Director General Benazir Ahmed said, the people who dupe people in the name of jobs in foreign countries should be sentenced to death.
“The illegal migration is being carried out by some unlicensed and fake recruiting agencies and actions will be taken against them soon,” he added.
Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry Secretary Begum Shamsun Nahar said they were working on to hold brokers accountable in legal framework.
Expatriates' Welfare Minister Nurul Islam spoke as the chief guest.