Traffickers have started using Vietnam as a new transit point for sending people illegally to Australia, New Zealand and some rich South East Asian countries, the foreign ministry said on Monday.
‘Vietnam is not a country where much work opportunities are available for prospective foreign workers,’ the foreign ministry said, adding that, ‘the brokers traffic Bangladeshi workers there in the hope of landing them in Australia, New Zealand and rich parts of South East Asia.’
The ministry said this in a press release clarifying incidents involving 27 Bangladeshi nationals who were lured by human traffickers to Vietnam and got stranded in Hanoi.
These 27 people were listed for repatriation at their own cost to Bangladesh in a prescheduled special flight operated between Hanoi-Dhaka-Hanoi in collaboration between Bangladesh embassy in Hanoi and the Vietnam government.
Eleven Bangladesh nationals, who were prescheduled to take the flight, returned from Vietnam availing the opportunity on July 2.
Twenty seven trafficked people have, however, declined to avail the flight stating that the Bangladesh government has to pay for their airfare, the Bangladesh embassy informed the ministry.
The foreign ministry said the government does not have a provision to pay for the airfare of returning illegal workers. In all repatriation flights, it is the passengers themselves who pay for their passage rather than from tax payers. In the case of flights carrying workers, the employer country pays for the airfare.
These 27 people do not fall under workers category as they did not go to Vietnam with employment visas. They went to Vietnam as visitors, said the foreign ministry
After the departure of the flight to Dhaka on July 2, they attempted to forcibly enter the premise of Bangladesh embassy in Vietnam, said the ministry, adding that it was a violation of both international law and Vietnam’s local law.
Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen said these 27 people declined to show their passports and identity cards while seeking services at the Bangladesh embassy.
Describing the group as ‘unruly people,’ the ministry said, ‘they first declined to fly home. Secondly, if they had anything to say, they could state that in a disciplined manner rather than attempting to forcibly occupy the embassy in a foreign country tarnishing the image of the country.’
The ministry accused the group of threatening in the social media that if their demands were not met they would similarly occupy all Bangladesh embassies abroad.
‘They went live on social media and made derogatory remarks against the country,’ said the ministry, adding, ‘such subversive activities staying in friendly foreign country is not acceptable by any standard.’
The stranded Bangladeshis were now staying at a hotel provided by the Vietnam authorities, according to the ministry.
Law enforcing agencies in Bangladesh are already working to nab the traffickers who were involved in illegally sending people to Vietnam, the ministry said, adding that, ‘those people who illegally go abroad lured by traffickers are also responsible for tarnishing the image of Bangladesh abroad.’
It would take time to resume flights in the Dhaka-Hanoi sector due to flight restrictions caused by COVID-19 pandemic, the foreign ministry added.
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