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COX’S BAZAR — Stranded at sea in hundreds, Rohingya women are being raped by the crew members of the boat and getting pregnant, and on the other hand, the traffickers are extorting additional money promising to get ashore either in Bangladesh or Malaysia exploiting the pushback as a pretext, according to family members.

A recent survivor Nurul Islam said, “The traffickers raped women and some of them got pregnant on the boat.” He also informed that many people died due to trauma, starvation, dehydration and malnutrition.

Brother of another victim currently on the boat adrift told RVision, “The trafficker recently asked from me extra (_0,000) BDT and promised me that they will get ashore in Bangladesh in a few days. On Sunday, I deposited the amount to a local phone number (018__ ____) via bKash service. I had to pay as I was threatened and worried about the safety of my brother.” adding “But he is saying me again that they are watching the situation calming down to head to their preferred destination.”

The source requested us not to disclose the information hidden above and his identity as it could endanger his brother.

Reportedly, the traffickers are not intentionally trying to sneak ashore though it could be possible like the first group of 29, lest they could lose the expected amount as the authorities in both sides are fully aware of the situation.

According to the source, if the authorities detained the trafficking victims, it is a great loss for the traffickers, because the money is conditioned with the safe arrival of the victims.

A group of up to 29 refugees includes women and children have reportedly been transferred to Bhasan Char island in the Bay of Bengal by the Bangladesh authorities. They are believed to be part of a larger group of up to 350 refugees, of whom A small boat carrying 43 people manage to land on coast while others are still stranded at sea.

Another source also mentioned that the traffickers are releasing only those refugees to the shore whose responsible relatives inland have successfully paid the amount demanded, whereas the rest hostages are being forced to pay additional money exploiting the pushbacks as a pretext.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has expressed its opposition to the transfers of the group of Rohingyas rescued on Saturday by Bangladesh Coast Guard to the remote hell island.

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