Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) came to know from its Mission in Hanoi that 27 Bangladeshi nationals who were lured by human traffickers to Vietnam in the recent past were now temporarily staying at a hotel provided by the Vietnam authorities.
Vietnam is not a country where much work opportunities are available for prospective foreign workers. Brokers traffic Bangladeshi workers there in the hope of landing them in prosperous countries such as Australia, New Zealand and other rich parts of South East Asia.
In the close collaboration between Bangladesh Embassy in Hanoi and the Vietnamese Government a Special Flight was operated in the Hanoi-Dhaka-Hanoi route on 2 July 2020. Eleven Bangladesh nationals returned from Vietnam availing that flight.
‘These 27 people were also listed for repatriation. They declined to avail the flight stating that Bangladesh government has to pay for their airfare. Bangladesh government does not have a provision to pay for the airfare of returning illegal workers,’ said a press release.
MOFA said that ‘in all repatriation flights, it is the passengers themselves who pay for their passage rather than from tax payers money. In case of flights carrying workers, the employer country pays for the airfare. They do not fall under either category as they did not go with employment visas; they went to Vietnam as visitors.’
After the departure of the flight to Dhaka, later in the day on 2 July 2020 they attempted to forcibly enter the premise of Bangladesh Embassy in Vietnam which is a violation of both international law and Vietnam’s local law. These unruly people first declined to fly home.
Secondly, if they had anything to say, they could state that in a disciplined manner rather than attempting to forcibly occupy the embassy in a foreign country tarnishing the image of the country. They are now threatening in the social media that if their demands are not met they will similarly occupy all Bangladesh embassies abroad.
‘They went live on social media and made derogatory remarks against the country. Such subversive activities staying in friendly foreign country is not acceptable by any standard, ‘ MoFA said.
The Government of Bangladesh as a recognition to all its hard work has recently been upgraded to tier-2 in the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) country report released by US State Department. There are reasons to believe that certain quarters are purposefully doing harm to the Government of Bangladesh against the backdrop of its recent success.
Law enforcing agencies in Bangladesh are already working to nab the traffickers who were involved in illegally sending people to Vietnam. Those people who illegally go abroad lured by traffickers are also responsible for tarnishing the image of Bangladesh abroad.
Because of the flight restrictions caused by COVID-19 pandemic, it will take time to resume flights in the Dhaka-Hanoi sector, said press release.