The government and non-government organizations have to work together to curtail human trafficking, the speakers said
Panellists at a webinar on Thursday unanimously opined that strengthening the legal framework of the country as well as strictly implementing the existing laws is imperative to stop human trafficking.
They also expressed concern that many cases are pending due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic in the country and urged the authority to overcome the challenges.
The government and non-government organizations have to work together to curtail human trafficking, the speakers said.
The interactive webinar on Human Trafficking in Bangladesh was arranged by International Organization for Migration (IOM), Bangladesh to mark the World Day against Trafficking in Persons on July 30.
Shilpi (pseudonym) survived and returned to Bangladesh, two years after being trafficked to India by a man she loved. Now she is fighting to ensure punishment for the traffickers and seeking justice, an interview by IOM showed.
While addressing, Samia Anjum, director general of United Nation wing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: “We need to build the capacity of frontline workers to combat human trafficking.”
“We need to involve all stakeholders in a whole of society approach to root out traffickers and support the reintegration of survivors,” she added.
“Human trafficking has no place in our world. We hope Bangladesh will become a model and example in the region as well as in the globe in combating Human Trafficking,” said Earl R. Miller, US Ambassador to Bangladesh.
He recommended enhancing victim care for all human-trafficking survivors, adding that: “Civil society organizations can take the lead on this effort. Government can work with them closely and support them with necessary needs.”
Dr Abul Hossain, project director of the Street Children Rehabilitation Programme of Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, said: “We need to work on common platforms and create a national network to promote synergies and improve cooperation.”
“We have to work on increasing our capacity in border regions to prevent cross-border trafficking,” he added.
He suggested collaboration from the national level with the grass route level to prevent this national issue.
“Covid-19 is a big challenge for the frontline workers combatting human trafficking. We don’t know how long the pandemic will continue,” said Abu Bakr Siddique, additional secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
He added: “So, we have to proceed to our targets accordingly amid the pandemic.”
Shahidul Haque, former foreign secretary, said: “One of the most critical issues in combating human-trafficking is to ensure access to justice for survivors.”
“As soon as we start ensuring proper justice, fear of facing justice will automatically go into the minds of traffickers. As a result it will start decreasing,” he furthered.
Executive Director of Integrated Community & Industrial Development Initiative (INCIDIN) in Bangladesh, AKM Masud Ali said: “Low skill levels, high migration costs, lack of awareness on safe migration, and potential migrants having limited access to formal channel of migration are the key challenges in preventing human trafficking.”
AHM Habibur Rahman Bhuiyan, joint secretary, Law and justice administration division revealed his ministry’s initiative to set up seven tribunals in seven divisional head districts to bring justice in human trafficking issues.
Giorgi Gigauri, Network Coordinator of Bangladesh UN Network on Migration (BDUNNM) and IOM Chief of Mission in Bangladesh concluded the session and said they are ready to cooperate with the authorities concerned in any problem related to human trafficking.
“It is necessary to discuss more to develop improved policy on human trafficking and the voice of stakeholders should be heard,” Giorgi Gigauri said.
On June 25, 2020, the US Department of State released the 20th Annual Trafficking in Persons report - the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-trafficking efforts.
The Report measured a country’s efforts to comply with the “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” based on a tier ranking system. The tiers are: Tier 1, 2, 3 and a Tier 2 Watch list.
The 2020 TIP Report ranked Bangladesh on Tier 2 which is an upgrade from the Tier 2 Watch list.