Md Ahsan Habib, 24, hailing from Brahmanbaria's Kosba upazila, had been working as a salesman at a private company in Uttara in the capital.
A year later, in May 2019, he met Mamunur Rashid Mamun, 45, from his neighbouring upazila of Nabinagar.
Posing as a recruiting agency owner, Mamun promised to send Habib to the East European country of Malta for just Tk12 lakh., Ahsan accordingly sold a plot of land in his village, and also took out some loans.
On 10 May 2019, he paid Tk8 lakh to Habibur Rahman, a ringleader of the syndicate, in the presence of Mamun and several others. He was promised a hotel job in Malta.
Ahsan surrendered his passport to the racket members.
In the third week of May, the syndicate members asked Habib to come to Dhaka, saying his visa was ready.
The next day, Ahsan Habib went to the group's Uttara office where he was informed that his visa was ready in Hyderabad.
That day, Ahsan, accompanied by a broker, set off for India from Kamalapur, via a BRTC bus.
The following day, the Bangladeshi broker handed Ahsan to their counterpart in India.
The Indian broker then both travelled to Hyderabad by train.
In Hyderabad, Ahsan met another 19 people who had been brought there to be sent to Malta and other European countries.
"They were all in an awful condition. A day later, they kept us in a room and took away my passport," Ahsan told The Business Standard.
"They even tied me up and beat me, insisting I fork out the remaining Tk4 lakh. Since I resisted and asked them to show me the European visa, they beat me up again. I finally called my father in Bangladesh and Mamun's brother Sumon collected the rest of the money."
In the first week of June 2019, they brought Ahsan Habib, along with 19 other persons, to a trawler and sent them to a remote forest in Sri Lanka.
Following a week's perilous journey, Ahsan and others reached Sri Lankan's coastal area.
"I saw six more people in the forest, who had been brought there to be sent to Malta via an illegal sea route. Fortunately, a Sri Lankan national helped me to escape," he added.
"I called my father in Bangladesh and he sent Tk33,000 so I could come back home," he broke down in tears while speaking to this correspondent.
Following the allegation made by Ahsan, a team of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) recently arrested four members of an international human trafficking syndicate from the capital's Uttara.
According to CID's Additional Deputy Inspector General Sheikh Omar Faruq, during a raid, CID officials recovered 28 passports, 19 seals of different embassies, banks, and agencies, and 10 fake visas of Cambodia from the arrestees.
He said that the arrestees are a part of an international human trafficking group, which collects jobseekers willing to go abroad and work in countries like Malta, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.
"The syndicates mainly operated from India and most of the members are active in Hyderabad and Kolkata," Faruq added.
"Members of the international criminal group include citizens from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives," he added.
Responding to a query, Faruq said they were specifically interested in finding out how the racket operates in India and whether any Bangladeshi nationals are involved in the group in India.
"We will ask our Indian counterparts to obtain details regarding the activities of the group. We can safely assume that at least 100 people have been trafficked through the channel in the last 7-8 years," Sheikh Omar Faruq said.
Meanwhile, another CID source informed TBS about a scheduled teleconference next week between Inspector General of Police Dr Benazir Ahmed and the India police chief.
"CID has found at least 22 human trafficking cases where syndicates are operating from several Indian states," he added.
Sources also said that the IGP would bring up these cases during his bilateral meeting with the Indian police chief.
According to CID officials, traffickers work with unlicensed agencies to send victims to India (with visit visas) through land check-posts, without proper approvals from the Bureau of Manpower, Employment, and Training.