The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has learnt from its mission in Hanoi that 27 Bangladeshi nationals, who were lured by human traffickers to go to Vietnam recently, are now temporarily staying at a hotel provided by the Vietnam government.
Although Vietnam is not a country that offers much work opportunities for prospective foreign workers, brokers traffic Bangladeshi workers by tempting them by saying that they will be sent to prosperous countries such as Australia, New Zealand and rich parts of South East Asia, reads a press release by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday.
On July 2, eleven Bangladeshi nationals returned from Vietnam on a special Hanoi-Dhaka-Hanoi flight which was jointly organised by the Bangladesh embassy in Hanoi and the Vietnamese government.
These 27 people were also listed for repatriation, but they refused to avail the flight saying that the Bangladesh government has to pay the airfare.
The Bangladesh government does not have a provision to pay for the airfare of returning illegal workers. In all repatriation flights, it is the passengers themselves who pay for the fare rather than use the taxpayers' money.
In the case of flights carrying workers, the employer country pays for the airfare. But these Bangladeshis do not fall under either category because they did not go with employment visas; they went to Vietnam as visitors.
After the departure of the flight to Dhaka on July 2, they attempted to forcibly enter the Bangladesh embassy premise in Vietnam, which is a violation of both international and Vietnam's local law.
Firstly, these unruly people refused to avail a flight home. Secondly, if they had anything to say, they could have said it 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 on social media that they will similarly occupy all Bangladesh embassies abroad if their demands are not met.
The press release says that they went live on social media and made derogatory remarks against Bangladesh. Such subversive activities while staying in a friendly foreign country is not acceptable by any standard.
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 the US State Department.
The press release also says that there are reasons to believe that certain quarters are intentionally harming the government of Bangladesh against the backdrop of its recent success. Law enforcing agencies in Bangladesh are already trying to identify and apprehend the traffickers who were involved in illegally sending people to Vietnam. Those people who go abroad illegally after being lured by traffickers are also responsible for tarnishing the image of Bangladesh.
It is worth mentioning that because of the flight restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it will take time to resume flights on the Dhaka-Hanoi route.