The stories of human sex trafficking from Bangladesh to Syria, as documented by a prominent Bangla daily, are truly horrifying. From the statements of the victims and their families as well as Rab informants, we are to gather that women and girls are being sold as “slaves” in different cities of Syria for $3000 or less, after being tricked into believing that they would get jobs as domestic workers in Lebanon. They are being forced to work and live under unbearable conditions, with no means of protesting their plight or escaping their confinement. We are alarmed that not only are women from Bangladesh being subjected to insurmountable violence, but that their pleas for rescue are falling on deaf ears of the authorities.
Last year, three women who had been sent back to Bangladesh due to illness, claimed that there was an organised transnational network trafficking who were conducting this trade from Bangladesh. Unfortunately, there seems to be a severe lack of coordination among different government bodies to identify the agencies involved in the trade and to rescue the women from Syria. With each institution pointing the finger towards another, and failing to take action, more and more women are falling victims to this terrible trade, while those in confinement are continuing to live under slave-like conditions.
We urge the concerned ministries to stop dilly-dallying on this matter and take urgent steps to rescue the women from Syria, and if need be, seek help from international agencies. They must waste no time in identifying the recruiting agencies who are conducting this trade and bringing the perpetrators to book.