Manhunt on for Bangladesh Human Trafficking Kingpin (13 July 2015)
KOLKATA: The kingpin of South-East Asia’s largest network trafficking women has fled Bangladesh to seek shelter in West Bengal, according to a report sent by the Dhaka unit of the Indo-Bangla joint task force against human trafficking.
Shaheen Khondakar gave the slip to Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion which raided his apartment in a highrise building at Turag in Dhaka last week, from where he ran a placement agency for women. Though the kingpin could flee, his aide Seema Akhtar alias Mousumi and five persons were arrested. The police rescued nine women, out of which six were supposed to be trafficked to Central Asia while three were to be sent to Chennai.
The state CID has launched a manhunt for Shaheen and issued an alert for him all over the country after the report reached the Secretariat,”Nabanna”.
According to sources in the Home Department, under the guise of the placement agency, Shaheen and Seema had over the last few years trafficked thousands of Bangladeshi young women to different parts of India, where they were forced into prostitution or sold to rich Arabs.
“In India their favourite destinations were Mumbai, Pune, New Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai. They would assure these women, many of whom could speak English, of lucrative jobs as receptionists in big hotels or medium-sized corporate houses. But once in India, they would be sold by Shaheen’s agents to pimps who forced them into prostitution in big cities,” a CID official told Express.
The CID is the nodal agency for West Bengal’s anti-human trafficking unit and its representatives regularly attend the meetings of the joint task force of the two countries. At a meeting held in Mumbai, names of 556 Bangladeshi human traffickers and 514 agents were handed over to the neighbouring country.
Dhaka was also given a list of Shaheen’s “dens” in Bangladesh — Khulna, Rajshahi, Borishal, Chittagong — other than the country’s capital.
New Delhi has also expressed concern about Dhaka’s not being able to nab Shaheen and his associates, who have links with arms and gold smugglers from both the countries as well.
In West Bengal, Shaheen’s network operates in almost all districts which share a border with Bangladesh. Its agents have connections in the police administration and political parties.