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Protecting the victims of human trafficking

  • Published at 12:01 am July 31st, 2019

This is a matter of immense shame for Bangladesh

The lack of any sort of progress that Bangladesh has made in curbing human trafficking, let alone eradicating it, comes off as a stark reminder of all the ways we are failing our own people.

In a recent Dhaka Tribune report, we found out that only 0.5% of all human traffickers have been prosecuted in the last six years.

There are more than 4,500 cases of human trafficking lodged throughout the country between 2013 and the current year, but the conviction rate is dishearteningly low -- while more than 4,000 of those cases are still pending any sort of trial at all.

Given the sheer mental and physical trauma that victims of human trafficking go through, we can only imagine what it must be like to realize that even their own country’s legal system is seemingly against themselves.

This is a matter of immense shame for Bangladesh.

In the past 12 years, close to 500,000 Bangladeshis were sent back to their country due to irregular migration and human trafficking, underscoring the sheer desperation that drives some of our citizens to throw caution to the wind and seek a better livelihood in foreign shores.

What it also underscores is the lack of any conviction on the part of our government when it comes to vetting potential overseas destinations for our workers.

There is very little justification why we should be sending our people to a country like Saudi Arabia -- which remains an alarmingly popular destination amongst our workers -- which has a storied track record of violating worker rights on top of their well-earned notoriety when it comes to abusing basic human rights.

Bangladesh, as it stands today, was made on the backs of all the hard-working men and women working from abroad -- we cannot keep failing them like this.

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