Unaccompanied minors from Bangladesh smuggled into Italy

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Migrant Sohel (not his real name) was repatriated from Libya by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in September 2020. His age was listed as 20 in the documents when he was repatriated. He visited Libya in May 2019. He spent 500,000 BDT (5,896 USD) for his trip to Libya.

He was one of the survivors of 26 Bangladeshi migrants who were shot dead in Libya by family members of a Libyan human trafficker in a revenge attack in the Libyan city of Mizda in May 2020.

His mother said her son was a good student. While studying in class IX at a local high school in Kishoreganj district, he was motivated by parents to travel to Italy via Libya.

Contacted for comment on the matter, Liesbeth Zonneveld, USAID’s Head of Anti-Slavery and Trafficking in Persons (FSTIP), Winrock International said, “It is a huge tragedy that parents and families in Bangladesh think they have no other choice. to have a better life than to accept that their children are smuggled into Italy with all the gigantic risks involved, including the risk that their children will be victims of trafficking and not just smuggling.

First of all, she added, “smuggling is a criminal offense, committed by smugglers. Minors should not be subject to criminal prosecution, but smugglers are indeed liable to criminal prosecution. “

Liesbeth Zonneveld said the illicit trafficking of minors, as well as adults, must be avoided by all means and requires a comprehensive international approach, including cooperation, exchange of information and other appropriate measures, including including socio-economic measures, at national, regional and international levels.

Liesbeth Zonneveld said regular migration should be made more accessible by the European Union, in the case of Italy. “People resort to irregular migration, including by agreeing to resort to trafficking, because there are not enough regular migration options available to them. They are desperate.

“The European Union should review its regular migration options to facilitate the migration of people and Bangladesh should also review the ease of regular migration options so that it is cheaper for Bangladeshi adults to migrate to work to Europe. “she said.


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