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Tuesday, October 28, 2014, Kartik 13, 1421, Muharram 3, 1436 Hijr

Identification of Bangladeshis trafficked to Thailand begins
Saleem Samad
Publish Date : 2014-10-28,  Publish Time : 00:00,  View Count : 107
The authorities of the embassy of Bangladesh in Bangkok starts today (Tuesday) verifying its nationals trafficked to Thailand recently, a senior Foreign Ministry official said on Monday.
Secretary (bilateral) Mustafa Kamal, who oversees status of the trafficked persons, said that the embassy officials would provide "consular access" to a first batch of 30 "verified" detainees from among a total 118 persons.
According to Foreign Office sources, the Thai authorities informed that those 118 people had identified themselves as Bangladesh citizens, among the 134 people rescued in two groups. The Thai authorities have interviewed the victims presently languishing in different detention centres.
The rest of the trafficked persons would also be verified in phases which would be completed soon, they said.
Thai authorities learnt the traffickers had landed a large group of people there and in subsequent raids found more than a hundred fear-stricken faces waiting to be rescued.
In the first group of 53 people, 38 claimed they were Bangladesh nationals, while the others said they came from Myanmar.
"In the second group of 81, all but one, who was from Myanmar, said they were Bangladesh citizens," Kamal said.
On completion of the identification and counsellor access formalities, the trafficked persons are expected to be repatriated home by end of November, the official said.
Thai online media claims a total of 300 abducted people landed at a remote island near Phuket in southern Thailand who were abandoned by the traffickers last week. The group of 176 are believed to have been taken off the island by the human-traffickers before law enforcers arrived, wrote a Phuket based online media Phuketwan.
The fate of the 176 Bangladesh nationals, who were also trafficked into Thailand, are still unknown. Thai police rescued 118 Bangladeshi from a rarely visited island. The 176 missing people including three women were onboard a rickety fishing boat that left Bangladesh in early October.
Bangladesh embassy in Bangkok admitted that they have no knowledge of the 176 missing people who were not rescued by Thai police. The police have no information of their whereabouts after they were forced to hide deep in the remote islands to avoid police surveillance.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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