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Boat capsizes, at least 100 missing

Nine charged with trafficking after Bay of Bengal sinking

The sea is a major transit route for human traffickers from Bangladesh The sea is a major transit route for human traffickers from Bangladesh
  • ucanews.com reporter Cox’s Bazar
  • Bangladesh
  • November 1, 2012
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More than 100 people are still missing, presumed drowned, after a boat carrying about 135 people capsized in the Bay of Bengal on Tuesday, a police official said today.

Muhammad Forhad, a local police chief in Cox’s Bazar district, said the boat was allegedly trafficking people to Malaysia.

Although some were Rohingyas displaced by earlier clashes in Rakhine state, Forhad's statement appears to contradict earlier news reports that the passengers were refugees from the latest outbreak of violence.

“Half of the passengers were Rohingya refugees, the rest were residents from Teknaf and Cox’s Bazar,” said Forhad, adding there were only six known survivors.

One of the survivors Abu Bakkar, 25, said the boat capsized in heavy seas and he along with five other people swam to safety.

“Fishermen rescued us from the sea, but we don’t know what happened to others.”

Forhad said they are still searching for missing passengers and that several of the alleged trafficking ring had been arrested.

“Each of the passengers paid 20,000 taka [US$ 245] for 'lucrative' jobs in Malaysia," he said. "Thanks to information provided by the survivors we have pressed human trafficking charges against nine locals.”

According to the Dhaka-based Bangladesh National Women Lawyers’ Association, more than 10,000 people, mostly women and children, are trafficked out of the country annually.

Related reports

Human trafficking still a curse in Bangladesh

Caritas Bangladesh tackles trafficking
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