Burma Times Correspondent: July 10, 2015
Locals in Shahpuri Deep of Bangladesh say the local administration was well aware of the human trafficking going on in the remote island. But many in the administration, and influential politicians profited from the illicit trade.
The remote island bordering Burma was one of the hot spots of trafficking till international uproar shut down the crime enterprise, at least for this season. Shahpuri Deep is also a point used by Rohingya refugees to escape Arakan and enter Bangladesh.
Many Rohingyas entering through Shahpuri Deep have been kidnapped by traffickers and sold in Thailand. Many local Bangladeshis from other areas were kidnapped and brought to this island before being transferred to the boats.
Many people in the Teknaf region say because of kidnapping fears, they don’t venture to many areas adjacent to the Shahpuri Deep. Besides the Teknaf beach, locals say other seaside areas in the vicinity are avoided by the public.
Asked why locals did not prevent the human trafficking enterprise which seem to function in full public view, many said the criminals were well protected by the administration and no one dared to challenge them.
Our sources have pointed out an even more disturbing trend – – most people in this remote island seemed to be connected to the human traffickers one way or another. The same is true for many other communities in this region.
Despite low literacy rates, absence of industry and vulnerability to natural disasters, many people in the Teknaf region are extremely rich. The increased standard of living occurred overnight when yaba smuggling and human trafficking became the norm in this area.