Bangladesh: gang of traffickers lured girls into prostitution using TikTok: police

In this archive photo taken on October 5, 2020, the logo of social network TikTok is pictured on a tablet screen in Toulouse, southwestern France. – AFP / File

DHAKA: In Dhaka, police announced on Tuesday that at least 11 people have been arrested for being suspected members of a Bangladeshi trafficking gang that has lured girls and women into the sex trade in India to the using the TikTok social media platform.

The alleged gang leader Rafizul Islam Ridoy – nicknamed “TikTok Ridoy” – “would attract young girls from TikTok and other social media groups, promising to make them TikTok models,” the Battalion’s paramilitary unit said. of Rapid Action (RAB) from Bangladesh.

But the victims were instead smuggled into southern India and forced into prostitution, according to a statement from the RAB.

The arrests came after video footage of an alleged sexual assault of a Bangladeshi woman went viral on social media in late May, triggering an investigation into the gang, the RAB said.

The suspects were all arrested last week.

The latest arrests came on Monday when two men were detained in a border district in southwest Bangladesh for alleged trafficking of girls and women aged 17 to 22, Dhaka Deputy Police Commissioner Mohammad said. Shahidullah.

“One of them told us he sent 1,000 people to India,” Shahidullah told AFP.

A total of nine people were arrested in Bangladesh and two more in India’s Bangalore tech hub for allegedly being part of the trafficking gang, police added.

Bangalore City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant told AFP on Tuesday that four other people were also arrested and charged with rape or encouraging the alleged sexual assault shown in the video.

Another person arrested Tuesday evening had not yet been questioned, he added.

All were nationals of Bangladesh, police in both countries said.

Ridoy was among those detained by authorities in Bangalore, Dhaka police added.

Shahidullah said that since 2019, when TikTok became popular in Bangladesh, such gangs have sprung up to attract teenagers from low-income families.

They would be invited to pool parties, star in TikTok videos, and “sell dreams of high-paying salaries in call centers, sales and service centers,” he added.

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