good news for India - GOI should sponsor their passage... At $10,000 per migrant, Bangladeshis take illegal route to Brazil SAO PAULO: In an operation that exposed the worldwide network of human traffickers, the Brazilian federal police on Wednesday rescued 80 Bangladeshis in the national capital, Brasilia. All the Bangladeshis, who were lured with the promise of receiving a salary of $1,500 a month, had reached Brazil after paying $10,000 each to the traffickers. Travelling more than 16,000km from their homes, the Bangladeshis entered Brazil without visas from three neighbouring countries: Peru, Bolivia and Guyana. The Bangladeshi embassy in Brasilia has expressed surprise at the news but it has offered its support to the Brazilian authorities in their investigation. The victims have not been arrested but advised to seek refugee status. Their cases will now be decided by the National Council for Refugees. According to the national secretary of justice, Paul Abram, Brazilian law provides that victims of human trafficking and people working in degrading conditions can get resident visa on humanitarian grounds. According to Abram, foreigners who are properly employed by companies will receive regular work visa and the others will be accepted in the country on humanitarian grounds. "The first step is to confirm the occurrence of trafficking and slave labour since the simple fact of being identified as victims of trafficking gives them protection from the Brazilian state," the secretary told reporters in Brasilia. The federal police launched an operation, called "Freedom", after noticing a sharp rise in the number of asylum claims by Bangladeshis in recent years. In 2010, there were 39 such cases but the number went up to 111 in 2011. Last year, the Bangladeshis were one of the four countries from where Brazil gets the maximum number of asylum seekers and refugees. On Wednesday, the federal police teams, tracking the victims, found them in six places in Fern, a satellite town of Brasilia. According to the police, all the victims were living in very bad conditions, with 20 people crammed into a room. Currently unemployed, they have been looking for work in the construction sector. Now, some of them are afraid of going back to their country, where the majority of population is trapped in poverty. Melad Ahmed, 35, came to Brazil illegally to work in poultry industry in Parana state, but he was taken to Brasilia. "I can not go back. In Dhaka, I have no job and money. Here, I can work in construction, slaughter house and Indian restaurants. I will do any service," Ahmed told Estadao de Sao Paulo newspaper in his broken English. "If I return to Bangladesh, I will have trouble with the police," he told the newspaper. Leaving his wife and son in Dhaka, according to Estadao, Ahmed travelled from Dhaka to Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia, with stops in Dubai, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. From Bolivia, he took buses to Parana and from there he arrived in the federal capital. The growth of new routes being used by international traffickers to bring illegal immigrants to Brazil has set the alarm bells ringing in Brazil. The first to use these routes were Haitians, who received special treatment due to the critical situation in their country. However, the same routes are now being used by Africans and Asians who pass seven different countries until they reach the border of Brazil, often paying thousands of dollars to middlemen and smugglers who take them to Brazil through the porous borders with Peru and Bolivia, which are covered in heavy vegetation and difficult to patrol. With its economy growing and the wages getting better, Brazil is now becoming a destination for migrants from poor countries, including Bangladesh. In recent years, there has been such an escalating influx of illegal immigrants into Acre, a state in Brazil's westernmost region, and other parts of northwestern Brazil, that it created an emergency situation which the local government was not able to handle and it had to request the federal government for help to provide shelter, food and water to more than 1,000 migrants Ã¢â‚¬â€ mostly from Africa Ã¢â‚¬â€ who crossed into the state from Bolivia. More than 5,000 Haitians have moved into Acre since the January 2010 earthquake devastated the impoverished Caribbean nation.