Unwilling Smugglers: Roads and Kingdoms

Matthew Bremner: Journalist

COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh — On a balmy evening last November, Sahara Khatun boarded the bus from a refugee camp to the port city of Cox’s Bazar. It was the seventh trip she had taken that afternoon, and she hoped it would be her last.

Khatun—short, with jet-black hair—wore a light green hijab and small gold piercing in her nose. In her arms, she carried her one-year-old son. As she made her way to the back of the coach, the recycled air hit her like hot breath. She was tired, her baby was restless, and the plastic packet she had concealed under her tunic felt clammy against her skin.

Khatun had done this many times before. In fact, she had been doing it for the last two years and has never been caught. But the experience didn’t lessen the nerves; it didn’t dull her awareness of what was at stake. She…

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