NEW DELHI — The Bangladeshi Navy said Tuesday that it had intercepted a small ship holding more than 600 victims of human trafficking the day before.
The passengers aboard the ship, mostly from Bangladesh or Myanmar, had been heading to Malaysia, M. Rashed Ali, a navy spokesman, said by phone from Dhaka. The ship reached the Bangladeshi harbor of Chittagong on Tuesday evening.
The victims were found aboard a trawler flying the Myanmar flag, Reuters quoted the navy spokesman as saying. The boat was in the Bay of Bengal about 135 nautical miles from St. Martin’s Island, part of southernmost Bangladesh.
Many Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar and impoverished Bangladeshis risk the journey in hopes of earning money overseas. During the first 10 months of this year, the Bangladeshi Coast Guard intercepted and detained 900 trafficking victims.
“These are poor people, and they travel in inhuman conditions, on top of each other,” said M. Mashric Ur Rahim, a Coast Guard commander.
The journey to Malaysia from Bangladesh typically includes a stopover in Thailand and lasts six to 10 days, with illegal passengers moving between boats, trawlers, and small ships.