Burma Times Correspondent: August 31, 2015
In a matter of months, two sisters Halima Begum (42) and Solima Begum (35) have lost their husbands and daughters to trafficking. Around three months ago, they had sent their daughters to work in Chittagong. Now they have vanished, presumed to be sold into sexual slavery. The man who took them, a Rohingya from Buthidaung is also absconding.
The sisters would never have sent their dear daughters to work as housemaids, only if their fathers had been around, The two men were however kidnapped from the Bay of Bengal earlier this year by traffickers and taken to Thailand. Like all other trafficking victims, they were tortured for ransom and their cries were relayed to their wives back home.
Unable to bear the tortured cries of their husbands, the two sisters sold everything and raised the phenomenal sum of 350,000 Bangladesh Taka (almost 6 million kyats). Much of the money was of course borrowed from others. They transferred the money to the bank accounts of the traffickers. Instead of setting them free, the trafficker tortured them even more and asked for more money. Then as usual he calls stopped and there were no further news of their husbands.
In the meantime, the creditors pressured the women for more money. They had hoped the money would be repaid if their husbands had found jobs in Malaysia, but now everything seemed lost, Unable to bear the humiliation, they left Leda camp and started living in Jadimura. That is when they decided to send their daughters for a job as a maid, encouraged by a relative who said he could make it work in the port city of Chittagong.
But their daughters have now disappeared too. Nowadays, the sisters are begging for a living as there are still children to be fed. They still live in the fond memories of their husbands and lost daughters and the desperate hope that one day this might all be over.