Bangladesh as a Corridor of drug trafficking Drug Traffickers are very much interested about Bangladesh as a Corridor of Drug Trafficking for various reasons like: Geographical Nature of Bangladesh, political and legal reasons, social disorganization etc. Bangladesh is situated in the central point between the 'golden triangle' (Mayanmar, Thailand and Laos) and the 'golden crescent' (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) in terms of geographical location. And it is also surrounded by the major drug producing countries of Asia, many of which are strengthening their narcotics legislation and stepping up enforcement measures. Bangladesh with its easy land, sea and air access is becoming a major transit point. Traffickers who supply drugs in the markets of Northern America, Africa, and Europe are routing their shipments through Dhaka, Chittagong, Comilla, Khulna, and other routes in Bangladesh. It is believed that with the increasing quantity of the wares more and more people are likely to get involved in drug business. In this way it ultimately contributes to the number of drug abusers as well. Bangladesh has long borders with India (4025 km) and Myanmar (283 km), makes it particularly suitable for trafficking. The northern and eastern sides are surrounded with hills and mountains. And the western corner is mainly plain land. The hilly regions are suitable for illicit drug trafficking. The traffickers can easily hide themselves in these hilly forests and transfer the drugs safely. In our country there are many border-crossing points from where every day millions of money is being exchanged for drugs. The border crossing points with neighboring countries are shown in Table-1. The Main Border Crossing Points in Bangladesh That Are Highly Used for Drug Smuggling Regions Country Border crossing points- The western routes with India are – Darshana, Zibannagar of Chuadanga, Hili and Birol of Dinajpur and Moghulhat, Aditmari, Durgapur, Fulbari, Nageshwari of Kurigram and Nawabgonj, Rajshahi, Meherpur & Debhat and Kaligonj of Khulna and Benapole, Chowgacha of Jessore. Eastern Routes are – Akhaura, Zhautala, Sadullahpur, Nawagaon, Singer bil, Col. bazar, Gangasagar and Kasba of B.Baria, Bibirbazar, Chagalnaiya, Maharajganj and Gutuma of Feni, Barkal and Baghaichari of Rangamati, Chittagong, Teknaff of Cox’s Bazar, Dighinala, Panchari, and Matiranga of Khagrachari. Northern Routes are –Haluaghat(Telikhali/Karaitali/Surjyapur/ Bandarkata/ Munsirhat/ Munshipara) of Mymensing and Durgapur (Bijoypur and Bhabani area) of Netrokona and Bangla Banda, Bhurungabari, Jhenaigati, Sunamgonj, Tamabil. In Comilla (Eastern region) India and Mayanmar Amratoly, Razapur, Braymmapara, Bibirbazar, Chaddagram, Suagazi(Source: Graphosman's New Atlas) Burma produces as much as 70 per cent of the heroin and opium and is the second highest producer of drugs which enter Bangladesh through the porous, hilly border and riverine routes for onward distribution to different countries of the region, according to sources. Bangladesh has become the prime transit route for trafficking heroin to Europe from South East Asia, according to the latest report from the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). "There is evidence that heroin consignments destined for Europe are increasingly passing through Bangladesh," states INCB's annual report 2007, which was released worldwide. The report also adds that "The geographical nature of Bangladesh, in particular its long borders with India and Myanmar, makes it particularly suitable for heroin trafficking." INCB notes that the most common methods and routes for smuggling heroin into Bangladesh are - by courier from Pakistan, by commercial vehicles and trains from India and by sea via the Bay of Bengal or overland by truck or public transport from Myanmar. An independent and quasi-judicial monitoring body which implements UN Drug-related conventions, INCB also blamed a lack of resources and training of law enforcement agencies for Bangladesh's failure to 'properly implement' its drug control policy. The report quotes Bangladesh police as saying that the Chittagong seaport is the 'main exit point for drugs leaving the country', while the rest is smuggled out through Sylhet and Chittagong airports. It also cites press reports of couriers trying to carry heroin to Europe on their way from Pakistan through the Zia International Airport in Dhaka. The report observed that the use of Bangladeshi courier services for drug trafficking is on the rise, which largely serves to ship drugs to Canada and South Africa, citing the seizure of 550kg of ephedrine in February 2007. It is Expert opinion that Bangladesh has been used as a transit for illicit drug trafficking from 1976AD and in 1983 AD first heroin trafficker apprehended in Bangladesh. The Vienna-based body also reported the increasing availability of Indian heroin in Bangladesh, along with Indian codeine based cough syrup, sold locally as Phensidyl. The board also noted that increased drug trafficking in Bangladesh could further worsen the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country. According to Interpol view; 'International drug trafficker uses Bangladesh as a network corridor of drug trafficking and then crossroad.' From Bangladesh's point of view, human, arms and drug trafficking, increasing smuggling of goods into Bangladesh, and frequent and unprovoked firings by the BSF on Bangladeshi villagers living close to the border are major sources of concern. Unresolved boundary issues are, no doubt, obstacles to orderly and peaceful management of the borders. Proper management of the border will ensure friendlier relation between the two neighbors. It is in the long-term interest of both Bangladesh and India that the border remain peaceful, that the people living in the border areas carry on their normal life without hindrance and restrictions, illegal trafficking in all forms are curbed and that legal trade and commerce flourish. The Indo- Bangladesh border management issue has technical, organizational, financial and political dimensions involving both countries. The future of Indo-Bangladesh relations hinges largely on this issue. The Director (Operations) of DNC said that due to its geographic location, Bangladesh has become the transit route of illegal drug trade. The international illegal drug syndicates change their modus operandi almost instantly when their contraband goods are seized by the law enforcing agencies, he said. They also change their routes and the system of carriage making it extremely difficult for DNC members to detect their movements. Meanwhile another official of the department said that a total of 7,881 kilograms of heroin, 25,961 bottles of contraband Indian Phensidyl syrup, 240 kilograms of cannabis, 49 of cannabis plants and 1437 ampoules of Pathedine, 14,50,210 poppy plants and other contraband drugs were seized between January and May". Despite attempts to stop smuggling of drugs, such as heroin and Yaba tablets from Burma to Bangladeshthe armed forces and other law enforcing agencies cannot seem to control the rampant trade in drugs. It continues unabated, an intellectual said. In Bangladesh the middle class, including students are into the use of Yaba tablets and other drugs coming from Burma forcing the Bangladesh government to crack down against drug users and dealers. The surplus drugs, including Yaba tablets are dispatched to other countries, said an observer. In locales where the drug trade is illegal, police departments as well as courts and prisons may expend significant resources in pursuing drug-related crime. Additionally, through the influence of a number of black market players, corruption is a problem, especially in poorer societies. So, laws related to drugs and drugs trafficking should be strict for controlling drug trafficking effectively. For this, Government should take proper initiatives and have to play a vital role to control drug trafficking in Bangladesh. Routes of Trafficking in Bangladesh: Western Routes East and South-Eastern Routes North and North Western routes Road River Rail Air Drug Trafficking Route-Map in Bangladesh: Among the trafficking routes to Bangladesh, the vast forests and terrain areas of hill tracts and the Bangladeshi, Myanmar and Thai Fishing Trawlers are being safely used for trafficking heroin into Bangladesh.It is alleged that heroin produced in North Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and India is generally trafficked into foreign countries through Calcutta, Madras and Mumbai routes of India and through Thailand and Rangoon. But the International drug barons and the Mafia network also find Bangladesh as a safe and alternate trafficking routes when the Indian and Myanmar routes become risky.Bangladesh, with its longest borders with India on 3 sides and with Myanmar to the northeast has become very risky and vulnerable for drug trafficking and abuse. It has been spread over from urban areas to rural areas. The most frequently used drug is heroin, thereafter, phensidyl (Codeine based cough syrup) illegally transit from India and the third highest is cannabis. Bangladesh have borders with India on its three sides except the south, which stands on the Bay of Bangal. The three border routes are as follows: The western routes with India are – Darshana, Zibannagar of Chuadanga, Hili and Birol of Dinajpur and Moghulhat, Aditmari, Durgapur, Fulbari, Nageshwari of Kurigram and Nawabgonj, Rajshahi, Meherpur & Debhat and Kaligonj of Khulna and Benapole, Chowgacha of Jessore. Eastern Routes are – Akhaura, Zhautala, Sadullahpur, Nawagaon, Singer bil, Col. bazar, Gangasagar and Kasba of B.Baria, Bibirbazar, Chagalnaiya, Maharajganj and Gutuma of Feni, Barkal and Baghaichari of Rangamati, Chittagong, Teknaff of Cox’s Bazar, Dighinala, Panchari, and Matiranga of Khagrachari. Northern Routes are –Haluaghat(Telikhali/Karaitali/Surjyapur/ Bandarkata/ Munsirhat/ Munshipara) of Mymensing and Durgapur (Bijoypur and Bhabani area) of Netrokona and Bangla Banda, Bhurungabari, Jhenaigati, Sunamgonj, Tamabil. On the otherside of Indian borders, there are factories/industries of manufacturing codeine based narcotics (with ‘Phensidyl’ as trade name) and are being trafficked into Bangladesh, where BSF and BDR are guarding borders on their respective sides. Codeine – ‘A’ class narcotic liquid has been trafficked into Bangladesh by bus, truck packed in different baggages and luggages through the above border areas in the trade name of phensidyl and also drugs are smuggled into by ships, fishing trawlers and by airways. It seems that Bangladesh has been increasingly used as a ‘transit country’ for heroin shipments using Dhaka Airport and the seaport of Chittagong as exit-points. Golden Triangle > Bangkok-Singapore-Hong Kong>Japan-> Pacific route (air and sea) > USA- Canada-Australia. Golden Triangle > Bay of Bengal-Bangladesh-India-Pakistan > Middle East > South and South- Eastern Europe > Western Europe> USA>Canada. (Air, sea and land) Golden Triangle > Bay of Bengal>India>Sri Lanka > Middle East-Africa > USA>Canada (air and sea). Golden Crescent > Pakistan>India>Middle East>Mediterranean region > Europe>USA>Canada. (Air, sea and land). Golden Crescent > Pakistan>Middle East>Africa>Europe-USA-Canada. India > Bangladesh > Middle East > Indian Ocean> Europe-USA-Canada. South America > USA>Canada>Europe (air-sea-land). Central America > USA>Canada>Europe (air-sea-land).