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14 March, 2016 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 14 March, 2016 12:00:58 PM
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Trafficked Bangladeshi, Nepali women trapped in Syria

Criminals target Nepali and Bangladeshi people in part because their govts have little diplomatic influence in the region
AFP

Nepali villager Sunita Magar thought she was heading to a safe factory job in Kuwait, but only when she landed in Damascus did she realise “something had gone very wrong,” reports AFP from Murali Bhanjyang.
Frequently beaten with a baton and given only one meal a day, Magar says she spent 13 months working as a maid for a Syrian household and pleading to be allowed to go home. “I was just in shock, I couldn’t stop crying,” the single mother-of-two told the news agency.
Magar is among scores of poor Nepali and Bangladeshi women who travelled to the Middle East on the promise of a good job, only to be trafficked into Syria, wracked by five years of civil war.
Nepal’s top diplomat in the region said nationals from the Philippines, Indonesia and other countries, which, like Nepal and Bangladesh, have large migrant labour populations, stopped working in Syria because of the dangers involved.
“Since then traffickers have been targeting Nepalis,” said Kaushal Kishor Ray, head of Nepal’s diplomatic mission based in Cairo.
“The numbers have gone up hugely in recent years, we estimate there must be around 500 Nepali women in Syria,” Ray told AFP.
In nearby Bangladesh, a woman (names not disclosed) lies in a Dhaka hospital bed recovering from her seven-month ordeal after being trafficked into Syria as a sex slave.
“I was sold to a Syrian man who tortured and raped me every day, sometimes along with his friends,” the victim, also a single mother-of-two, said.
“I begged for mercy, but they didn’t have any. Instead they used to beat me so badly that I broke my arms,” she told AFP.
Accompanied by labour agents, the victim with several other women left Bangladesh on the promise of working as maids in Jordan.
But they too were taken to Syria, where fighting between the regime and rebel forces has left more than 260,000 dead and displaced more than half the population.
The woman developed kidney disease, prompting traffickers to contact her ageing mother to demand money for her safe return home.
Lieutenant Colonel Golam Sarwar said his team from Rapid Action Battalion is investigating her case and two others—although families of 43 other women have lodged similar complaints.
“Bangladesh is apparently a soft target for the traffickers,” Sarwar told AFP.
Criminal networks target nationals from Nepal and Bangladesh in part because their governments have little diplomatic influence in the region and no embassy in Syria.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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