The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and National Security Intelligence agency (NSI) have arrested a Libyan national and five officials of a Bangladeshi manpower recruiting agency for involvement in a human trafficking racket.
Libyan citizen Sameer Ahmed Omar Faraj, 45, Bangladeshi national Abdul Gofran, 60, the owner of Sufi International Ltd in Paltan Mizanur Rahman, Nazrul Islam, 42, Mohin Uddin, 31, and Md Sohel, 34 were arrested from the Hatirjheel and the Paltan areas on Thursday, said RAB-3 director Lieutenant Colonel Rakibul Hasan.
Though manpower recruitment to war-torn Libya is banned in Bangladesh, Samir has been running a human trafficking racket for many years. He was involved in such a racket from early 2010, a RAB official said.
He came to Bangladesh in 2012 and introduced himself as a businessman and entrepreneur. He said he had many factories and oil fields in Libya and wanted to take several thousand people to his country for his industries.
Some Bangladeshi recruiting agencies trusted him and deposited several thousand passports and money. Sameer and Gufraan tempted poor workers with the false hope of being solvent and having a better future there.
Later, Sameer turned out to be a fraud. Some recruiting agencies then filed three cases against him at the Motijheel Police Station. He was detained and sent back to his country.
However, Sameer returned to Bangladesh with the help of some other human trafficking rackets and started the fraud business again. Sameer and the racket planned to traffic a huge number of Bangladeshi nationals to Libya again to earn a large amount of money, said the RAB officer.
For the last one year, the Libyan national had been staying at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka. His visa expired last February and he was staying illegally for the last few months. His bills were paid by Gofran.
Sameer came to Bangladesh on a tourist visa, and besides manpower trade he was engaged in different business activities like supplying masks from Bangladesh.
RAB officials said they were interrogating the arrestees to find out how many people they had cheated and if any more recruiting agencies were involved in the racket.
Six passports along with various scanned and hard copies of passport and other documents were seized during the operation.
Meanwhile, a team from the DB Gulshan division have arrested two listed human traffickers Monir Hossain and Selim Sikder from the capital's Jatrabari area.
DB deputy commissioner for Gulshan division Moshiur Rahman said arrested Selim and Monir were two prime accused in a human trafficking case filed at Gulshan Police Station last June.
Monir, who was a construction worker in Libya, tempted people mostly from Shariatpur, Madaripur, Feni and Tangail. The racket used to charge Tk4-5 lakhs from each person. The racket also operated torture cells in Libya, said Moshiur.