Five to ten years after going missing, six victims of human trafficking have returned to their homes from neighbouring India, making a surprise to their families.
The victims are: Ziarul Islam of Dupchachia upazila of Bogra, Hanifa Akhter of Kishoreganj Sadar, Alpana Khatun of Fulbaria of Mymensingh, Reena Akhter of Keraniganj of Dhaka, Manik Mia of Jamalpur and Md Shahajan Mia of Kulaura of Moulvibazar.
They entered Bangladesh from Agartala through the Akhaura check post on Thursday, Brac Migration Programme said in a statement.
Assistant High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Tripura Mohammad Jobayed Hosen received them in a bilateral programme at the no man's land near the border post. Head of BRAC Migration Program Shariful Hasan, and the victims' family members were present at the event.
However, why and exactly when the victims were taken to India and who were behind the offence could not be known immediately. The authorities said all of them were detained from Tripura a few years ago in a state of mental imbalance.
"The victims were being treated at the Modern Psychiatric Hospital in Agartala on a court order. Many of them have been treated at the hospital for four to five years or more," Jobaye Hosen said.
"The High Commission has always been in touch with them. As soon as the situation improved, we took the initiative to bring them back to the country, " he added.
However, he could not confirm how the persons had gone to India.
Victim Ziarul's relative Mohammad Razzak, said, "His sister-in-law Ziarul went missing in 2014. He was somewhat mentally unbalanced."
Razzak's family was amazed at how such a person could be trafficked to India.
Alpana's cousin Dulal said, "One day, 10 years ago, our sister suddenly went missing. After a long time, the police recently informed us that she was in a mental hospital in Agartala. But we do not understand how this happened."
Hanifa Akhtar's son Hafez student Yasin said their mother suddenly disappeared five years ago. They thought she had gone to a relative's house. They searched for her in Karimganj but did not find her. Later in May, the police informed them their mother was found in Agartala. They are happy to have their mother back after so long.
Meanwhile, BRAC Migration Programme provided an emergency financial assistance of Tk10,000 each and counselling services to trafficking victims and their families, the release said.