Bangladeshi authorities have prevented over a dozen Rohingya Muslims from being trafficked to Malaysia by boat from refugee camps in south-eastern Bangladesh, officials said on Saturday.
“The coast guard intercepted seven women and 10 men who had fled refugee camps in Saint Martin’s Island in the Bay of Bengal on a boat set to make its way to Malaysia late Friday,’’ coast guard official Fayezul Islam Mandal said.
Mandal added five suspected human traffickers were also detained at the scene.
Police officer Pradip Kumar Das said that the Rohingya refugees were sent back to their respective camps.
The traffickers use the prospect of employment to lure the refugees to Malaysia and arrange passage by boat via the Bay of Bengal in exchange for money.
Bangladesh is hosting over 1 million Rohingya Muslims refugees displaces by the military in neighbouring Myanmar in temporary shelters made mostly of bamboo shafts and tarpaulins.
Almost 750,000 of them crossed the border after Myanmar launched a military crackdown in northern Rakhine state in 2017.