The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of police has arrested the alleged gang-leader of a sex trafficking racket which forced hundreds of girls from Bangladesh into prostitution in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Azam Khan, the alleged mastermind of the gang, owns four hotels in Dubai – Hotel Fortune Royal, Fortune Grand Hotel, City Tower Hotel, and Fortune Pearl Hotel and Dance Club. The first three hotels are four-star standard, while the last one is three-star.
Making the disclosure at a press briefing in the CID headquarters on Sunday, Deputy Inspector General (Organised Crime Unit) Imtiaz Ahmed, said, "The UAE recently expelled Azam from the country after discovering his illegal activities behind his hotel business."
The CID's organised crime team also arrested two other people involved in the human trafficking racket, who forced young women into prostitution in Dubai after trafficking them using tourist visas.
The arrestees – Anwar Hossain and Al Amin – have been identified as associates of Azam Khan. The police, however, did not disclose the date and location of the arrests.
At the press briefing, the CID official said, "The UAE had informed the Bangladesh Embassy about Azam Khan's sex trafficking racket. Later, the embassy seized his passport and other documents.
"Earlier this year, he was deported to Bangladesh and was trying to escape to a neighbouring country by getting another passport. However, the CID managed to track him down and arrest him. Azam and his gang had been trafficking young women to Dubai for years."
How did the racket operate?
According to CID sources, hundreds of women – mostly aged between 20 and 25 – were trafficked to the UAE, some free of cost.
In first stage in Dubai, Azam Khan and his racket got the victims jobs in their four hotels. During the second stage, they forced the trafficked women into working in dance bars, and soon they ended up getting involved in prostitution.
"The gang tortured any trafficked women who refused to get involved in dance bars and prostitution," said DIG Imtiaz Ahmed, adding, "We filed a case at Lalbagh police station on July 2, and Azam Khan has confessed to involvement in the human trafficking racket."
Providing further details about the racket, the CID official said, "Azam has trafficked more than a thousand women in the last eight years from Bangladesh, luring them with jobs with a salary of Tk50,000 per month.
"Several travel agencies, two foreign airlines, and more than 50 brokers have worked as his associates in Bangladesh. Azam himself used to work on human trafficking. His two brothers also work as his accomplices and they have gone into hiding in Dubai."
The Bangladesh Embassy in the UAE confiscated Azam's passport after the country brought allegation of human trafficking against him, DIG Imtiaz said, adding that Azam was sent back to Bangladesh with an out pass later.
"Azam's mobile phone contains audio clips of over hundred women crying to return to Bangladesh," he added.