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More vigilance at Rohingya camps against human traffickers

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25th-Feb-2018       
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Aid workers have identified 32 victims of human trafficking so far at Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar and also reported lack of access to basic services and self-reliance opportunities - especially for women and girls increasing the risk of trafficking. If such risks were assessed from the very beginning when the influx had begun these incidents could have been avoided.   
Now with the first hand evidence of trafficking, the government should arrange extra security measures to stop its recurrence. This is peak time more intelligence services need to be put in place to track the offenders.
Statistics suggest 6 out of 10 newly arriving Rohingya refugees are children to provide a fertile ground to the traffickers to recruit women and young girls as maids and domestic helps. They are then handed over to trafficking chain. This is right at this point where aid workers and local security agencies should properly forewarn refugee women and girls to stay away from false recruitment promises. Coupled with lack of sufficient lighting in camps - increasing risks of getting kidnapped are affecting the refugees' mobility, access to services increasing the sense of insecurity, especially to women and girls.   
Officials estimated over 11.07 lakh Rohingyas now living in Bangladesh with the bulk of new arrivals in recent months. Most of them have taken shelters in makeshift camps on hill slopes and forestland where security measures are not enough. Understandably, ensuring security for the entire community is a colossal task and traffickers are always on wait for misleading victims luring promise of good life. It is true in the prevailing situation even more people could have fallen victims but there is also no place for complacence to reduce vigilance.   
Given the limitations in providing enough security measures locally, we hold the view that the government should engage more police, BGB and other plain clothe people to strengthen the security. Community policing is also another option.
Also we expect intelligence agencies will play bigger role to track-down clues from victims' families and their relatives, if possible to know who were local people instrumental to such trafficking cases. Law enforcers should address all security loopholes at the soonest. We want foolproof safety for Rohingya refugees and their women in particular. This is a big human crisis and we must arrange the highest safety for their women and girls.

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