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Traffickers prey on lost Rohingya children in Bangladesh camps

Wednesday, November 08, 2017 - 02:06

An information booth set up in a Bangladesh refugee camp is helping reunite hundreds of Rohingya children with their parents, as the specter of child trafficking in the area looms large. Samantha Vadas reports.

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For more than half a million Rohingya Muslims, reaching a refugee camp in Bangladesh can bring some form of relief. But not for Noor Alom, who's been searching for his six-year-old daughter for two days. (SOUNDBITE) (Rohingya) NOOR ALOM, FATHER OF MISSING SIX-YEAR-OLD GIRL, SAYING: "I am so worried that someone is going to take her and sell her. We haven't seen her, maybe a bad person has taken her away and sold her." His fear is justified. Six out of ten new arrivals in the camps are children, making them a fertile hunting ground for traffickers looking for young girls to recruit as maids. The United Nations says these networks are a reality, which is why a makeshift booth has been set up to help protect Rohingya children from traffickers roaming the area looking for easy prey. The Thomson Reuters Foundation recently visited and witnessed a small boy brought in by a stranger. (SOUNDBITE) (Rohingya) MOHAMMED KHAN, ROHINGYA REFUGEE WHO IS LOOKING AFTER LOST LITTLE BOY, SAYING: "I found this boy on the road and he was crying. I asked him about his parents but he didn't know anything, so I bought him back here and gave him some food." Sitting in terror and staring at the walls of bodies in front of him, the announcer repeatedly issues appeals for his parents. It's a desperate wait. The boy's new-found guardian vowing to take care of him if his parents are never found. But in an emotional breakthrough, his mother hears the call and she's reunited with her child. After sprawling the camp for his missing daughter, Alom decides to try his luck at the booth. (SOUNDBITE) (Rohingya) MORIUM KHATU, MOTHER OF MISSING SIX-YEAR-OLD GIRL, SAYING" "She's only six years old and I'm really scared she is going to get trafficked to some place far away from here." With the presence of child trafficking looming large over the camps, Alom joins the list of fortunate ones. After a three-day search, he eventually finds his daughter, one of thousands of children separated from their families amid the chaos.

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Traffickers prey on lost Rohingya children in Bangladesh camps

Wednesday, November 08, 2017 - 02:06