Grocer turns top human trafficker
Driven by his desire to become rich, Saiful Islam Tutul, a grocer in a small village of Meherpur's Gangni, moved to the capital around nine years ago.
Soon, that desire would turn into greed.
He started working as an illegal broker of recruiting agencies, luring people into going abroad with fake promises of lucrative jobs. At one point, he became involved in human trafficking.
Years later, Tutul, who studied up to the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) level, established three overseas recruitment agencies -- all unauthorised -- in the capital's Badda. Using those agencies -- Tutul Overseas, Limon Overseas and Loyal Overseas -- he swindled a huge amount of money from job seekers promising them good jobs in the Middle East.
Many of the job seekers were trafficked. Many ended up with low-paid jobs in a foreign land.
Recently, families of several such victims complained to Rab about the matter. Following the complaint, a team from Rab-4 raided the three offices early yesterday and arrested eight people, including Tutul, 38, and his accomplice Toiyob Ali, 45, for their involvement in human trafficking and swindling money, said Mozammel Haque, commanding officer of Rab-4.
The law enforcers seized 10 passports, four stamp seals, three mobile phone SIM cards, cheque books of four banks, two computers and Tk 10,070 in cash, the Rab officer told a press briefing at the Rab Media Centre in the capital.
Four victims -- two men and two women -- were also rescued during the raid, he said.
"Those recruiting agencies had no licence or approval from the ministry concerned. They used other authorised agencies to send people abroad," the Rab official said at the briefing later in the day.
The six other arrestees are: Jalal Uddin Limon, 38, Maruf Hasan, 37, Jahangir Alam, 38, Laltu Islam, 28, Alamin Hossain, 30, and Abdullah Al Mamun, 54. They work at those offices in different positions.
Mozammel claimed that Tutul emerged as a top human trafficker in the country over the past several years. Toiyob, a confidante of Tutul, was a tea seller but he would pose as a manager of a reputed airline company.
The group mainly targeted unemployed and insolvent men and women. It would take Tk 2-2.5 lakh from each of them, promising them good overseas jobs.
Taking the money, the group would organise fake trainings and take fake medical tests of the job seekers to earn their confidence. Later, the job seekers would be trafficked to Jordan, Libya, Saudi Arabia and other countries, the Rab CO said, adding that many of them were forced into doing illegal and backbreaking jobs there.
Many job seekers paid the group money but could not fly, he said.
At least 15 job seekers and their family members were present at the Rab briefing yesterday.
One Ashraful Islam from Gaibandha told The Daily Star that Tutul and Toiyob sent his niece to Jordan on June 9 this year. Ashraf was able to contact her only once. Since then, she has been traceless.
Another victim, Shamim from Jamalpur, said he paid Tk 4 lakh to Tutul in instalments two years ago for a job in Saudi Arabia. He has not got the job and Tutul has lately not been answering his phone calls either.
Another victim said he paid Tk 3 lakh to Tutul, who later handed him a fake air ticket.
Rab said two cases -- one under the human trafficking act and the other for fraudulence -- will be filed against the arrestees.
It also said they were digging deep into the matter to know more about it.