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Bangladesh, US discuss concerns over migrants' debt coercion

  • Published at 11:49 am August 9th, 2019
Rohingya repatriation
File photo of Hundreds of Rohingyas Reuters

The ambassadors emphasized on the importance of prosecution, protection and prevention in combating human trafficking

Bangladesh and the United States have discussed concerns about traffickers exploiting legal recruitment fees to trap migrant workers in debt-based coercion.

US Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons John Cotton Richmond had a discussion with Bangladesh government officials and partners during August 3 to 6 on Thursday, said the US embassy. 

Identifying internal forced labor and sex trafficking, increasing accountability for traffickers, and providing victims with support-- were among the issues that the two countries' officials discussed.

They also discussed ways to combat trafficking in person and encourage measurable progress in implementing the recommendations in the Department of State's annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report.

Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller joined Ambassador Richmond for meetings in Dhaka with government officials from the Foreign Affairs, Law, Home, Social Welfare and Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment ministries. 

They applauded the passage of the 2018-2022 National Action Plan and emphasized the importance of prosecution, protection and prevention in combating human trafficking. 

In Cox's Bazar, Ambassadors Miller and Richmond reviewed with the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner regarding the vulnerabilities of trafficking Rohingyas, and what steps Bangladeshi government can take to limit these vulnerabilities.

The delegation also met trafficking victims at the USAID-funded Young Power in Social Action TIP Shelter and heard about the reintegration services the shelter provides to survivors. 

Later, ambassadors Miller and Richmond had lunch with a group of law students where they discussed the importance of effective prosecution in trafficking, the differences between smuggling and human trafficking, be it internal or external, and the importance of the annual TIP report and implications of Bangladesh's third consecutive Tier 2 Watch List ranking. 

They also attended international partners and the diplomatic community, including other chiefs of mission, at events throughout the visit, on the importance of combating human trafficking.