The arrest of Mohammad Saidul Shaikh by Indian police on charges of trafficking in women from Bangladesh should be reason for the authorities in Dhaka to be worried. It is not that news of such trafficking is coming to us for the first time.
There have been reports for a number of years of young Bangladeshi women being lured across the border and sold into brothels in Mumbai and other places in India.
There are too reports of young Bangladeshi women being taken from Bangladesh on several pretexts into India and onward into Pakistan, where again it is the flesh trade they are forced to be part of.
This latest bit of news has Shaikh, who has been residing in the Mumbai region for the last decade, actually hailing from Bangladesh and operating such flesh trade for a very long time. What does surprise one is the fact that these women, on false premises of romance, are not only delivered to brothels in India but are also given papers which show them to be Indians.
Such documents as Aadhar cards have been found in the possession of the women by Mumbai police. This proves that a well-organized network is at work, ostensibly securely, in the business of such illegal activities.
Now that these revelations have come to light, the authorities in both India and Bangladesh must work together to identify the elements involved in the flesh trade and bring them to justice.
Obviously, if 500 young women from Bangladesh have been spotted engaging in prostitution in Mumbai, there are elements like Saidul Shaikh in Bangladesh who have been in links with the likes of him in enticing these women into crossing the border and in consequence finding themselves trapped in conditions vastly different from those they thought they were getting into.
For the Bangladesh authorities, especially the police and BGB, the requirement now is extra vigilance at the border. The fact that Bangladesh shares a very porous border with India makes things rather difficult. Even so, efforts must be stepped up to ensure that this trafficking in women is stopped before elements like Saidul Shaikh are able to have the women cross the border.
That means within Bangladesh itself it is necessary to launch operations in areas suspected to be grounds for women to be brought together before they are taken out of the country.
One other measure which should be considered is to gather information from Mumbai police on the 500 women who have been trafficked by Saidul Shaikh and his gang and speak to their families in Bangladesh. Such a step will lead to the local criminals involved in the evil nexus of the flesh trade being identified and brought to justice.
Poverty is a debilitating condition for societies everywhere. That does not mean, however, that sinister elements should be allowed to take advantage of it to destroy the lives of individuals and families.
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