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Promised jobs in Dubai but forced into sex trade: Ring-leader who traded hundreds of girls arrested in Bangladesh

Bangladesh police produces Azam Khan, 42, ringleader of the trafficking syndicate, and his two associates on Sunday, July 12, 2020 (Photo courtesy: Dhaka Tribune)

Bangladesh police have arrested three men over the trafficking of hundreds of young women taken to Dubai on the promise of jobs in hotels and then forced into sex work.

The victims were paid a month’s salary up front and told they would work as housekeepers or dancers. But when they got to Dubai, many were forced to have sex for money and beaten if they refused, police said.

 

Among the three arrested on Monday was a man suspected to be the group’s leader, who had been in hiding in Bangladesh since being deported from Dubai earlier this year.

He was arrested on trafficking charges while trying to leave the country earlier this month, said police, who described the other two men as “brokers” and said they were still looking for others.

“We have arrested the leader of the syndicate. But there are other members who are continuing this business. We will arrest them as soon as possible. Only 20 percent of the job has been done,” said Imtiaz Ahmed, deputy inspector general of the Criminal Investigation Department.

“The girls they targeted were aged 18 to 25. Some of them were garment workers, some were on the hunt for jobs. The traffickers have been working for at least eight years and we estimate that they sent hundreds of women,” he added.

Bangladesh has ramped up its efforts against traffickers after 24 citizens were killed in Libya in May. Last month at least 50 people were arrested in a single operation. (Agency inputs)