An estimated 12 million Bangladeshis are currently employed overseas
The world day against trafficking in persons was observed in Bangladesh on Tuesday to remind the risks run by an estimated 700,000 Bangladeshis who chose to migrate abroad in search of work through irregular channels.
Marking the day, the United Nation’s migration agency International Organization for Migration (IOM) Bangladesh chapter and the Dhaka University Debating Society (DUDS) jointly organized a day-long debate competition titled "I stand against human trafficking" at the university’s Business Faculty Auditorium.
The competition was organised with the support from the European Union, the US government and the Embassy of Sweden in Dhaka to create better awareness among the students regarding human trafficking.
While briefing about human trafficking, Asma Khatun, head of Migrant Protection and Assistance of IOM Bangladesh, said an estimated 12 million Bangladeshis are currently employed overseas.
Dr MM Akash, professor of the Economics department at DU, said: “As we don’t have enough job opportunities in Bangladesh, people, especially the young, tend to go abroad through the irregular process. Those who are trafficked are generally poor.”
Prof Dr Nakib Md Nasrullah of Law department of the university, said: “Trafficking is a transnational crime. The existing laws are good enough to prevent trafficking, but we need to implement the laws strictly to bring the traffickers to book.”
Addressing the issue, Sharon Dimanche, Deputy Chief of Mission - IOM Bangladesh, said: “Due to unemployment and economic inequality existing in the country, a trafficked person doesn’t take much time to calculate their future financial gains and swallow the offer of the traffickers. The victims are either abducted or lured with promises of a better life by providing a lucrative job or marriage offers and false proposals to visit holy places. It is critical for all stakeholders to join hands and work together to combat human trafficking.”
After the opening session, 16 debating clubs of Dhaka University joined the debate competition. Additional secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs distributed the prizes among the winners at the closing ceremony of the event in the afternoon.
In 2018 an estimated 8.9 million Bangladeshis migrated internally and an approximately 730,000 left the country through regular channels to work abroad. But according to the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report 2019, many there are who migrate every year through irregular channels, risking exploitation and abuse at the hands of smugglers and traffickers. Irregular migration creates many vulnerabilities for a migrant such as restricted movement, debt bondage, forced labor, forced sexual exploitation, forced marriage, and slavery like practices.