In the first six months of 2018, 256 individuals were reported to have been trafficked – 118 of them men, 96 women, and 42 children. Of them, 74 men, 71 women, and 29 children have been rescued, according to police data
Despite many years of efforts in combating human trafficking, lack of knowledge about safe migration as well as problems in approach and loopholes in preventive initiatives means Bangladesh still has a long way to go to curb trafficking in persons, speakers said on Sunday.
Speaking at a media dialogue titled “Combating Human Trafficking and Irregular Migration” in Dhaka, rights and migration experts discussed the progress the country has made in terms of preventing human trafficking and ensuring safe migration.
Organized by Brac in its auditorium, the discussion was held on the occasion of the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, which will be observed worldwide on Monday to raise awareness of the situation of the victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights.
Addressing the issue, the speakers discussed migration governance and lack of safety in the process, adding that the state needs to accept the responsibility to protect people from becoming victims of trafficking.
“The state cannot deny its responsibility towards migrant workers and victims of trafficking in persons. Bangladeshi missions abroad also need to be active in response to the (complaints by) migrant workers and trafficking victims,” said Kazi Reazul Hoque, chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The NHRC chief further said although the country has laws to prevent human trafficking, they have not implemented and enforced properly.
“We have to identify and fix the loopholes, and figure out the root causes as to why people are still being trafficked,” he added.
According to Human Trafficking Monitoring Cell of Bangladesh Police, since 2012, 4,152 cases of human trafficking have been recorded by police.
In the first six months of 2018, 256 individuals were reported to have been trafficked – 118 of them men, 96 women, and 42 children. Of them, 74 men, 71 women, and 29 children have been rescued, according to police data.
Asif Saleh, Brac's senior director for strategy, communication, and empowerment, emphasized the need for a regional platform to combat human trafficking in the region.
“We are developing a recruiting agency, a skill-based training program, and a regional platform in order to fight human trafficking, and rescue and bring back victims so the entire process of migration can be addressed with a holistic approach,” he added.
Shariful Islam Hasan, head of Brac Migration Programme, said: “Lack of law implementation, low prosecution rates, and lack of awareness about these issues among government officials, poor referral mechanism to support victims of trafficking, dependency of labour migrants on middlemen, lack of a functioning anti-trafficking tribunal, and complicity of officials in trafficking offences are the major problems.”
The European Union Delegation to Bangladesh Charge d'Affaires Mario Ronconi, and International Organization for Migration Bangladesh Chief of Mission Giorgi Gigauri mentioned the importance of specific interventions, better policy framework, resilience livelihood, skill development, protection of migrant workers, evidence-based policy-making, and international coordination of leadership to prevent human trafficking in persons and irregular migration.