Authors Priyali Sur and Rebecca Wright of CNN write a disturbing article about 16-year-old Noor Kayas, who was in such terror that she escaped the refugee camp where she stayed and didn’t tell anyone she was leaving; she has been missing for two months on February 11th
“At sea the next morning, the teenager [Noor] used a satellite phone to call her mother, Gule Jann, 43, to say she was heading for Malaysia on a small wooden boat, packed with 87 Rohingya refugees, including 65 women and girls,” write Sur and Wright. They added, “Some were fleeing what their families say is the increased risk of sexual assault and rape during the pandemic in the sprawling refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh, home to more than 1 million displaced people.”
Noor inquired with her mother about 40,000 taka ($470) to assist with paying the trafficker to ensure she arrived in Malaysia.
According to Sur and Wright, “Indian authorities were alerted to the passengers’ desperate cries for help on February 20, but took 48 hours to respond with medicines, food, and water.” The boat had been at sea for just five days.
“Please, can someone let me know if my daughter is alive or dead?” Jaan said, Sur and Wright. “She is a good girl and was lured by the trafficker to go on the boat…the boat’s disappearance is compounding the misery of families in Cox’s Bazar, where lax security is allowing militants to enter the camps at night to attack women and girls, according to rights groups,” wrote the authors. Many women and girls have used what is known as rickety vessels to flee sexual violence within the camps.”
For now, Noor’s mother is losing faith that her daughter will be located. “I fled with my daughter from Myanmar four years ago after my village was burnt, and today my daughter is at risk of being sent back to the same place or dying in the sea,” Jaan told Sur and Wright.