The horrific massacre that took place on May 27 in a town called Mizdah in Libya, where 26 Bangladeshi migrants were killed when a fight broke out between the human traffickers and hostages (nine survivors were brought back to Dhaka last month), revealed the grueling and gruesome route often taken by hardworking Bangladeshis, and the ordeals they face in their pursuit for a better life. Unfortunately, their woes continue. A recent report in this daily reveals how Bangladeshis are being imprisoned in camps which are run by militias all across Libya. It details the experience of a migrant worker who fell victim to human trafficking and brutal forms of torture after wanting to reach the shores of Italy having worked in Libya. Like a few others, he was fortunate enough to buy the mercy of his captors at a cost of Tk 10 lakh. But how many can afford such sums?
According to an Amnesty International report, "Tens of thousands of refugees and migrants in Libya are trapped in a vicious cycle of cruelty with little to no hope of finding safe and legal pathways out. After enduring unconscionable suffering in Libya, refugees and migrants risk their lives at sea seeking safety in Europe, only to be intercepted, transferred back to Libya and delivered to the same abuses they sought to escape." It is unfortunate that the Bangladesh mission in Tripoli is unable to keep track of our imprisoned workers who are trapped in this cycle, and thus needs to strengthen its efforts to ensure the safety of our citizens there.
While it is laudable that the CID is currently cracking down on Bangladeshi human traffickers based in Libya who were responsible for the massacre in Mizdah, at the same time, they must also identify the many duplicitous recruiting agencies who exploit the vulnerability of aspiring migrants and bring them to book. Vigilance is of utmost importance to apprehend the traffickers and eliminate their operations. We also recommend the relevant ministries to take a strong stance in this regard and be more aware of the state of our citizens in Libya. It must seek assistance from the Libyan government and other international organisations to ensure the safety of our migrant workers who face a life and death situation on a daily basis.