Three held in Bangladesh for trafficking workers to Brunei

Azlan Othman

Bangladesh Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), an elite anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, arrested three alleged human traffickers for sending migrant workers to Brunei Darussalam in the name of providing work and embezzling money, according to the Dhaka Tribune.

Last Wednesday, an alleged main middleman of human trafficking was arrested from the Kafrul area of Dhaka, where he embezzled BND457,000 from about 400 people in the name of giving jobs in Brunei.

In 2009, he sent 60 migrants to Brunei via his unregistered agency. But later they returned home, paying for their way home, as they were provided with no jobs in Brunei, the RAB said.

The RAB also claimed to recovering a foreign made gun from his possession.

The other two were apprehended from their office at Mohakhali DOHS area. RAB is conducting investigations to arrest all associates.

Last year, the Bulletin reported that officials from the Bangladesh High Commission in Brunei Darussalam uncovered what they described as a ‘surplus visa racket’, purportedly allowing Bangladeshi citizens to work in the sultanate without proper visa.

The victims were found to be without jobs for as long as 10 months, after paying BND7,000-BND8,000 to brokers. They had sold off their lands and houses on the promise of good wages and jobs once they arrived in the sultanate.

Out of the estimated 15,000 work visas belonging to Bangladeshi citizens, only 4,552 were attested by the Labour wing of the Bangladesh High Commission.

The Bangladesh High Commission also said that labour brokers in Brunei and Bangladesh recruited these workers without first obtaining any clearance from the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training.

The employment racket has led to fears that the sultanate could become a den for the trafficking of exploited people to neighbouring countries.

In one instance, the wage default reached BND600,000 after employers failed to pay the workers for six months, when they were each supposed to receive around BND350 per month.

About 30,000 Bangladeshis work in Brunei Darussalam, with most employed in the construction sector, according to the Bangladesh High Commission in Brunei Darussalam.