The economic crisis that the pandemic has caused will do far more than push more people below the poverty line
It is undeniable that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused great suffering across the board, leading the loss of lives and livelihoods, leaving the most vulnerable amongst us even more so.
But the effects of the pandemic are more far-reaching than we may realize.
In a recent webinar hosted by the Dhaka Tribune entitled “Trafficking in persons,” the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has said that there is a significant risk of increase in human trafficking as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The economic crisis that the pandemic has caused -- which, thanks to the current government's willingness to provide stipends and increase the size of the social safety net, has resulted in Bangladesh faring far better than most nations in this regard -- will do far more than push more people below the poverty line.
This will leave them more vulnerable to predatory traffickers who will take advantage of an increased pool of people who are increasingly more desperate to alleviate the economic crisis that has befallen them and their family.
In such a situation, it is imperative that we ramp up law enforcement efforts to not only catch human traffickers but also to recognize the ones most vulnerable to such a fate and provide them with the necessary support so that they do not remain desperate enough to find the threat of being trafficked worth ignoring.
Experts in the webinar have recognized that, while laws do exist to tackle human trafficking in Bangladesh, due to a lack of overall data regarding the issue and the lack of implementation of the aforementioned laws, Bangladesh has not done the best job in ensuring that traffickers are punished and that people are protected.
While some traffickers are caught, the so-called “masterminds” almost never are, and, as such, it is imperative that our investigation reaches beyond simply catching the perpetrators and focuses on dismantling a system which allows human trafficking to flourish.