To Europe - In search of a better life


DS Sourav
The Higher Secondary exam result of 2010 was not pleasant for Keraniganj’s youth Amirul Islam, the eldest son of shopkeeper Kibriya Islam. Due to financial crisis, Amirul could not continue with higher education. And searching for more than 24 months, he failed to find a suitable job. A depressed Amirul later went to an overseas recruitment agency and shared his story.

The agency gave him the lucrative dream of a job in a European country in exchange of only Tk. 8 lakh. They also said that the money can be paid in two installments after obtaining the visa. Amirul will have to pay rest of the amount before leaving the country. Within 6 month Amirul managed his passport and got a visa for Italy. Till that moment Amirul had no idea what would his future unfold eventually. Amirul fell in the trap of human traffickers who took Tk. 8 lakh and gave him a fake visa and passport. His dreams were shattered on learning about this twist of fate.

Last week, 39 Bangladeshis drowned in the Mediterranean Sea boat capsize. Later, Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen released the information of missing nationals. The UN Refugee Agency, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says the number is still unknown as to how many Bangladeshis tried to cross sea to step into Europe. European Union figured out there are around some 100,000 not having the appropriate legal document or license Bangladeshis in Europe.

Yesterday Bangladesh’s elite force RAB's Legal and Media Wing Director Commander Mufti Mahmud Khan said, At least 10-15 groups in Bangladesh are involved in human trafficking activities extending from Libya to the Mediterranean Sea. Intelligence sources found Information on several syndicates associated with this illegal work. After accidents and casualties of Bangladeshi people on the way to Tunisia last week families of the victims have filed two cases in Police Station in Sylhet.

Belayet Hossain (28) another victim of human trafficking, was also cheated by the traffickers. They took a total of 5 lakh from him. Belayet gave them money on the assurance of a job and work visa in Italy. Why so many people at the same time are leaving their beloved country in search of livelihood? Serajul Islam, head of international migration research project for a Dutch NGO says, “Lack of information push them to the traffickers trap. Job scarcity is everywhere. We have to focus on human capital development”

BRAC’s migration program head, Shariful Hasan, says “it’s a long way to go. A skilled worker can go to any country and can bring something to his family in return. Unskilled workers are just a burden. Educated jobless youth can be turned into skilled capital. Trafficking in the name of migration is another risk for Bangladesh’’

Social activist Feroz Ahmed says the problem can’t be solved overnight. People from this country want to go to many developed countries in search of work. In this regard, social awareness is a must. Leaving beloved family behind is not easy. We have to change our mentality towards migrant workers because they are an asset to this country, says Prof. Syed Anwar who teaches international relation at Curtin University and currently conducting researches on migrants.