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Dangerous human trafficking by sea must stop

15 June 2021


A news report published in this daily on Monday said that as many as 439 migrants, including 164 Bangladeshis, were rescued and detained by the Libyan Coast Guard from the Mediterranean Sea on Thursday while they were on their way to Europe, especially the UK and Italy. The others are either African or Asian. They were taken to the naval base in Tripoli following the rescue operation. Later, they were handed over to the immigration authorities. The detained migrants are currently at a shelter camp, says a Libyan navy spokesperson. The Bangladesh mission in Libya also confirmed the matter to the media.
Over the past few years, a section of Bangladeshis who are working in the Middle East have been relentlessly attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea in dire conditions, seeking a better life and fleeing uncertainty and despair. Many of these attempts result in deaths. For the voyage, a number of illegal agencies and their international networks promise the migrants to help them to make their dream journey to Europe.
As of May 2021, the Libyan Coast Guards have rescued at least 9,216 migrants trying to go to Europe through the sea. The number was 7,100 in the first five months of the last year. Then again, data of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees shows that 11,000 migrants from different countries made their way to Libya illegally through the sea from January to April this year. More than 700 migrants died between January and May this year while attempting to cross the sea. Last year, 1,400 people died while trying to do so.
It may be recalled that on May 18, the Tunisian navy also rescued 68 Bangladeshis after a boat carrying them capsized in the sea. Thirteen Bangladeshis are still missing. They were on their way to the Italian shores from Libya when the boat capsized in the sea. Around 11,000 migrants disembarked on Italy's coasts from the start of 2021 to May 7, up from 4,105 during the same period last year. "With millions of Italians facing difficulties, we cannot care for thousands of illegal migrants," Italy's opposition League Party leader wrote on Twitter.
Globally, irregular migration of people through dangerous sea routes managed by transnational networks of smugglers and traffickers has recently become a matter of grave humanitarian concern. The seemingly endless streams of illegal migrants for better opportunities often end in deaths and need to stop.


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