The crime deprives millions of their freedom and dignity
My first event as United States ambassador in Bangladesh was to attend the official launch of Bangladesh’s 2018-2022 launch of the National Plan of Action to fight human trafficking back in December 2018.
I commend the government of Bangladesh for taking this important step. Human trafficking deprives millions of their dignity and freedom and violates unalienable human rights.
Human trafficking is a crime of exploitation. The trafficker compels men, women, and children into service for commercial sex or labour or both. Traffickers use coercive or deceptive practices to keep their victims from asking for help.
On July 30, the US and the international community observed the World Day against Trafficking of Persons. In June, US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo released the 2019 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report.
This annual publication documents the efforts of 187 governments to combat human trafficking and calls on governments to respond to all forms of human trafficking with the most comprehensive and effective measures possible.
The US Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Counter Human Trafficking John Richmond will visit Bangladesh from August 4-6 to meet government of Bangladesh officials and civil society members to demonstrate US interest in working together.
In the spirit of partnership, the US Embassy supports the Bangladesh Counter Trafficking-in-Persons (BC/TIP) program, implemented by Winrock International.
It works in 20 trafficking-prone districts to address issues of human trafficking within the United Nations’s (UN) Trafficking in Persons Protocol and the United States’ Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA): Prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnership.
Human trafficking is more than a trans-national act smuggling human beings from one country to another. Nations must look inside their borders, as well. Governments must take pro-active measures to ensure a domestic focus is central to anti-trafficking efforts and advance targeted steps to address human trafficking within their country’s boundaries regardless of whether there is movement across international borders.
National governments carry much of the responsibility for combating human trafficking. But they cannot do it alone. We all need to work together, at the international, national, and local levels to safeguard the places we call home from the insidious efforts of modern-day slavers. Community-based actions with the support from larger government efforts are essential.
Communities can take their own measures to fight trafficking and protect victims. They can build partnerships among all levels of government from the national to the upazila, along with law enforcement, survivors of human trafficking, and providers who support them, and other key community actors. Creating an anti-trafficking task force could be one of the best ways to ensure coordination.
Communities can also conduct assessments to better understand who is most vulnerable to human trafficking, what services currently exist to aid trafficking victims and those at risk of being trafficked, and what gaps must be addressed.
Finally, targeted training and awareness-raising efforts for those who might come into contact with victims of human trafficking are critical to a local response. Professionals, especially those likely to interact with victims, such as doctors, teachers, judicial officials, law-enforcement officers, and business owners should be trained to recognize the indicators of human trafficking and know how to seek assistance.
Modern slavery has no place in this world -- anywhere or anymore. Not in the United States. Not in Bangladesh. Ending the trade in human beings is one of my top priorities as United States ambassador. The US Embassy will continue to work with the people and government of the great nation of Bangladesh to fight this crime.
Earl R Miller is US Ambassador to Bangladesh.