Police arrest two Bangladeshis wanted for trafficking on Interpol list

by Naimul Karim | @naimonthefield | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Friday, 15 January 2021 15:37 GMT

FILE PHOTO: People do morning exercise at the Ramna Park in Dhaka, Bangladesh, December 23, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

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Bangladesh sought Interpol's help to arrest trafficking kingpins last year after at least 24 Bangladeshi migrants were killed in Libya

By Naimul Karim

DHAKA, Jan 15 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Two Bangladeshi men accused of killing and kidnapping migrants have been arrested, police said on Friday, just weeks after the country shared details of suspected human traffickers with Interpol for the first time.

Police said Jafor Eqbal, 38, who appeared on Interpol's Red Notice list of wanted fugitives on suspicion of murder, kidnapping and deceiving job seekers, was detained in Italy earlier this month.

The second man, Shahadat Hossain, 29, who faced similar accusations on the international police force's wanted list, was arrested in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, late last year.

"Interpol helped us a lot," said Jisanul Hoque, a senior police official from Bangladesh's Criminal Investigation Department (CID), adding that the two men were suspected of trafficking Bangladeshis to countries including Libya.

"We will look to take (Interpol's) support to catch traffickers who deceive Bangladeshis in the future as well," he added.

In November, Bangladesh sought Interpol's help to arrest trafficking kingpins for the first time, a step that came after at least 24 Bangladeshi migrants were abducted and killed in Libya in May last year.

A month after the killings, police arrested more than 50 suspected traffickers accused of extorting money from people on false promises of jobs overseas, including a ringleader who had illegally sent 400 Bangladeshis to Libya.

More than 70 Bangladeshis are on Interpol's Red Notice list, which seeks the provisional arrest of fugitives.

One of the world's largest exporters of manpower with about 700,000 people going abroad every year, Bangladesh is vulnerable to trafficking as its recruitment system largely depends upon unlicensed brokers, experts say.

The two new arrests send a message to Bangladeshi traffickers that they can be caught even if they are far from home, said Tariqul Islam, country director for the anti-trafficking charity Justice and Care.

"This will also encourage the police to investigate cross-border trafficking cases where collecting evidence is a difficult task, which can in turn help speed up the progress of trafficking cases at courts," he added.

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(Reporting by Naimul Karim @Naimonthefield; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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