BANGLADESH. INDIAN WOMAN SENTENCED TO DEATH FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING
June 15, 2005: a Bangladesh court has sentenced an Indian woman to death for attempting to traffic a four-year-old boy out of the country, a court official said.
Anjali Devi, alias Manju Devi, 24, collapsed as the judge of a special trafficking tribunal in western Pabna read out the court verdict, the official said.
Sentencing Devi to be hanged, Judge Amirun Nesa told Devi the prosecution proved she was part of an inter-state child-trafficking gang. Devi, a Hindi-speaking Indian national, was handed over to police by a mob in March 2002 after she was stopped as she boarded a bus with the child, the official said.
Pabna is close to the border with India's West Bengal state.
An official of the Indian High Commission in Dhaka said, "We are not sure of her identity. We're looking into it." The verdict came as the country stepped up efforts to fight traffickers.
In the year to February 2005, the Bangladesh government prosecuted 70 cases of women and child smuggling, securing 41 convictions. Around 20,000 women and children are trafficked from or via Bangladesh each year, according to estimates by the US State Department.
The US State Department's 2005 Trafficking in Persons Report said Bangladesh had made "commendable progress" in combating trafficking although further efforts were needed to root out corrupt officials who helped traffickers. The majority of victims are women and girls from rural areas who end up working in the sex trade or as domestic helpers. (Sources: 7DAYS, June 17, 2005)