Bangladesh may consider ban on TikTok; Chinese platform becoming hub for human traffickers

A few weeks ago, a video of five men assaulting a woman went viral in India, prompting Indian authorities to arrest the men involved

Jun 10, 2021

A few weeks ago, a video of five men assaulting a woman went viral in India, prompting Indian authorities to arrest the men involved. Later, it turned out all people seen in the video were Bangladeshi nationals and had illegally crossed over to India and were living in Bangaluru.

 One of the arrested men, named Hridoy Babu, revealed to Indian police that he had trafficked over 50 Bangladeshi girls with the help of a gang operating in Bangladesh. The disclosure led Bangladesh police to burst one of the biggest transnational human trafficking groups operating in Bangladesh in recent time. 

The girl, seen in the viral video, had managed to reach Bangladesh where she lodged a police complaint in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. In her complaint, she revealed that she was taken to Bengaluru in India and forced into the sex trade. 

The group was allegedly using TikTok, a popular Chinese social media platform, to lure potential victims, promising them to make TikTok models. The mastermind of the group, who was arrested by Bangladesh police, confessed trafficking over 500 girls to India. 

Authorities have arrested 11 members of the gang, including Rafizul Islam Ridoys, nicknamed TikTok Ridoy, who is known for his expertise in shooting videos using TikTok.  

The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), a paramilitary force in Bangladesh, which is investigating many such cases, said many popular social media platforms are becoming the hub for criminal and trafficking networks. 

RAB spokesperson Commander Khandaker Al Moin said that officials were now forwarding a proposal to the government banning TikTok, Likee, PUBG, and Free Fire apps in the country, according to a report in Dhaka Tribune. 

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) will have the final say on the issue, the RAB official said.

Meanwhile, BTRC deputy director Zakir Hossain Khan said, “We will take necessary measures for the greater good of the country if we do receive a proposal or directive [to ban the four apps], despite our firm belief in freedom of expression.”

Earlier, in 2018, Bangladesh had briefly blocked internet access to TikTok for not removing certain contents which the government considered offensive and inappropriate.