DHAKA, Bangladesh -- Nearly 25,000 Bangladeshi women and children are illegally trafficked into neighboring countries and the Middle East every year, according to a Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association survey released on Tuesday.

"Human traffickers have lured the women and children to migrate to another country on false promises of employment," association chief Salma Ali said while releasing the survey. She said poverty and lack of education were mainly responsible for women stepping into traps laid by the traffickers."Poverty is the most influential factor. Ninety percent of women victims are illiterate, and only 5 percent have primary education," she said. Most end up in brothels.

Ali said the survey conducted recently in 10 villages found that 33 of 51 victims were still missing. Others returned home on their own or with help from various human rights and voluntary organizations.

"Our estimate is at about 25,000 women and children are trafficked out of the country every year, and many of them remain missing forever," Ali said

Her association rescued 400 women and children from India, Pakistan and Middle East countries over the last few year, she said.

"Lack of enforcement of proper prosecution, use of children as commodities, powerlessness and vulnerability of women, corruption and bribery at all levels from border police to (officials in the) passport office are the main causes of trafficking of women and children," she said.

Police said most of the trafficked women end up in brothels while the children are used in crimes and for cheap labor.