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Foreign Minister: World recognizes Bangladesh's efforts to end human trafficking

  • Published at 01:44 pm June 26th, 2020
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen
File photo of Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

However, the report said the government did not meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in several key areas

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has said Bangladesh vowed to end human trafficking through joint efforts and the world recognized its efforts, taken so far. 

"We have long way to go. We will surely win. Build up strong public opinion (against trafficking and traffickers)," he said on Friday seeking support from all, reports UNB.

The US Department of State in its report Trafficking in Persons 2020 said the government of Bangladesh demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period towards preventing human trafficking, earning itself an upgrade to Tier-2 in a ranking of countries fighting trafficking.

"It is a news that there are some progress in regards to the government efforts. As a result, the world recognized us," Dr Momen said in a video message commenting on the US report. 

Recalling incidents of trafficking and killing of 26 Bangladesh nationals in Libya recently, the foreign minister said these are very regrettable. 

"I call upon the people of the country -- identify the traffickers and the agencies who are sending people abroad illegally. Boycott them socially," said the foreign minister. 

Dr Momen laid emphasis on boosting Bangladesh’s image as human trafficking issues bring bad fame for any country. 

He said the relatives of the trafficking victims cannot avoid responsibility for the sufferings of the victims. 

"Help the government. We want to stop human trafficking - child trafficking and women trafficking. We cannot do it without your support," said the foreign minister. 

Efforts to stop human trafficking

Bangladesh's efforts included convicting more traffickers, modestly increasing the number of victims identified, acceding to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol, and at the close of the reporting period establishing seven anti-trafficking tribunals as stipulated in Bangladesh’s anti-trafficking law.

In addition, the government continued to allow humanitarian access to the Rohingya camps, according to US Department of State report on Trafficking in Persons released on Thursday.

The report, however, said the government of Bangladesh does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.

It said the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas.

Law enforcement decreased investigations into trafficking cases, continued to deny credible reports of official complicity in trafficking, and, despite hundreds of credible reports of forced labour and sex trafficking of Rohingya, did not open investigations to verify these reports, according to Bangladesh part of the report.

Despite widespread reports of child sex trafficking, including in licensed brothels, the government did not make efforts to identify victims or investigate the persistent reports, it said.

While international organizations identified more than 1,000 potential Bangladeshi forced labor victims in Saudi Arabia during the reporting period, the government did not report efforts to provide the majority with services or criminally investigate allegations of forced labour, says the US report.

Moreover, the agency charged with certifying citizens for work abroad, the Bureau of Manpower and Employment Training (BMET), allowed recruitment agencies to exclude from required pre- departure trainings information on human trafficking, specifically how to file a complaint against one’s employer or recruitment agency, it said.

BMET also forced some migrant workers to arbitrate labour violations with their exploitative recruitment agencies without representation.

The government continued to allow employers to charge high recruitment fees to migrant workers and did not consistently address illegally operating recruitment sub-agents, which left workers vulnerable to traffickers, according to the report.

It said victim care remained insufficient; officials did not consistently implement victim identification procedures or refer identified victims to care; foreign trafficking victims could not access protective services; and the government did not have shelter for adult male victims.

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