Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) has arrested three members of a gang including its leader accused of extortion and trafficking Bangladeshis to Cambodia.
The arrestees are Cambodian expatriate and leader of the racket, Nazmul Islam, 30, Noor Islam Sajjad, 25, and Md Sirajul Islam Panchayet, 57.
They forced the trafficked Bangladeshis to extort foreign nationals through cybercrimes there.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Farzana Haque, staff officer (Media) of RAB-3, said that a team of RAB-3 conducted an operation in Paltan area of the capital on Tuesday (6 September) based on complaints from victims.
At that time, three passports, four mobile phones, one register book, 250 pages of various documents related to human trafficking and Tk5,000 in cash were seized from them.
"Nazmul Islam lured the victims and their guardians by offering them jobs in Cambodia as computer operators with high salaries through various assailants from Bangladesh," Farzana told the media at the briefing.
Initially, the gang charged Tk4-5 lakh for sending them to Cambodia.
Interested unemployed youths are first made to take a computer literacy test. After passing, Cambodian tourist e-visas are made for them with the help of Cambodian expatriates Alim and Shariful.
After going to Cambodia, Nazmul, with the help of his fellow Cambodian expatriates Rakib and Rafiq, first took the victims to expatriate Arif's hotel and confiscated their passports.
Following a short stay at the hotel, they were taken to a foreign training institute with the help of Cambodian expatriate Kamal alias Lion Kamal and Atiq for computer training.
There, foreign trainers teach the victims how to conduct fraudulent activities by operating accounts under pseudonyms, using fake cloned websites to extort money from credit cards, calling or chatting from fake numbers to get low-interest loans, and voice calls through social media.
They are also taught the technique of extorting money through blackmail and if one fails to collect the target or refuses to work, he or she is tortured.
After the training, the victims are sold to a foreign company for $2,000-3,000. They forced the victims to put the training to use for snatching money through cybercrime.
"Anyone seeking a way out is asked to pay back double the money spent on the purchase and is required to promise not to file a complaint with law enforcement," Farzana added.
The victims are then forced to collect money from Bangladesh to pay back the fraudsters while they are again sold to another company instead of being sent home.
If one wants to return to the country, the gang instructs them to collect more customers as a condition for leaving. During this time, the victims have to bear their expenses in Cambodia without any support. Due to a lack of income, they are forced to do illegal work against their will.
"Many are desperate to survive and persuade other Bangladeshis they know to come to Cambodia in order to free themselves."
Rab sources said so far the gang has trafficked over 500 Bangladeshis to Cambodia and forced them to slavery.