News Desk, Dhaka::
Bangladesh should ban video-sharing apps like. TikTok and Likee as it is being used to conduct criminal activities, says the chief of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).
“Over 80% of the country’s internet users access different social media sites, which are somehow to blame for different types of criminal conduct,” its Director General Chowdhury Abdullah Al-Mamun said on Saturday.
His remarks come following recent arrests of suspected members of a sex-trafficking gang that used TikTok to lure young women and girls.
“The dark sides of technology should be avoided. There is no scope for getting away with committing an offence; nobody can do so now. Anyone linked to a crime will face tougher punishment,” he said while addressing an event in Dhaka.
A number of rapes and gang-rapes took place in Bangladesh in the past few months when the victims were lured with shooting for TikTok and Likee videos, with the latest known case revealed in Sylhet on Thursday.
Additionally, the law enforcers have recently cracked down on human traffickers after a woman was raped and tortured in India in late May, who was tricked into going to Bengaluru in the pretext of a TikTok video shoot.
So far, seven people, including the mastermind of the crime racket and a female aide have been arrested in Bangladesh over the alleged rape the 22-year-old woman by Bangladeshis in Bengaluru.
The sex trafficking gang used video-sharing TikTok to contact and lure young women and girls before selling them for sex in the neighboring country.
Police said that the suspects said that they had trafficked at least 50 women to India in the two years.
A video of a Bangladeshi woman being tortured and sexually assaulted went viral on social media last week, prompting the investigation by police, who said the traffickers had enticed the women with promises of well-paid jobs across the border. She is currently in Indian police custody.
“These girls are mostly from lower-income groups. They are told they’ll become stars in India. They are also promised jobs in malls. But these were lies,” said Mohammad Shahidullah, the investigating officer of the case filed over the incident.
Shahidullah said officers were still trying to find out how many women had been trafficked by the gang.
“One of the arrested individuals told us he sent at least 1,000 people across the border … We still don’t know if that’s true,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Bangladesh is one of the world’s largest exporters of labour and its citizens are encouraged to look for jobs abroad, but because its recruitment system depends mostly upon informal brokers, trafficking is a risk, activists say.
The South Asian nation, which has a backlog of about 4,500 human trafficking-related cases and a poor conviction rate, opened special courts last year to speed up progress on such cases.
Meanwhile, as many as 500 TikTokers have been identified for their vulgar production, according to media reports.