Bangladesh plans to maneuver from human trafficking watch list

Saleem Samad

Saleem Samad

Bangladesh government has envision to maneuver from the United States watch list for being the major source and transit country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.

Bangladeshi men and women migrate willingly to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, the Maldives, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Singapore, Libya, Europe, and other countries for work, often under legal and contractual terms, writes U.S. State Department document Trafficking in Persons Report 2011.

Soon after the 9/11 terror attack, the western countries bracketed human trafficking as a security issue, thus the economic migrants were dubbed as illegal or alien migrants, mostly from more than 100 poor countries.

Two senior government officials on Wednesday told a group of journalists at a workshop jointly organized by BRAC, a largest non-governmental organization, Winrock International and human rights journalist’s forum that the government has taken steps to enact a comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation soon.

Dr. Kamal Uddin Ahmed of Ministry of Home Affairs and Sudhakar Datta of Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment said the new law will criminalizes the forced labor of men, in order to integrate anti-labor trafficking objectives into national anti-trafficking policies and programs.

The draft law will increase criminal prosecutions and convictions for all forms of labor trafficking, including those involving fraudulent labor recruitment and forced child labor; take steps to address the allegations concerning the complicity of public officials in trafficking, particularly through the criminal prosecution and punishment of those found involved in or abetting human trafficking; increase the capacity of the Vigilance Task Force and improve oversight of Bangladesh’s international recruiting agencies to ensure they are not promoting practices that contribute to labor trafficking; place Anti-Trafficking Monitoring Cell officers in Bangladeshi embassies in destination countries; and provide protection services for adult male trafficking victims and victims of forced labor, they officials explained.

A significant share of Bangladesh’s trafficking victims consists of men recruited for work overseas with fraudulent employment offers who are subsequently exploited under conditions of forced labor or debt bondage. Bangladeshi children and adults also are trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and forced and bonded labor, says the Trafficking in Persons Report 2011.

About child and women trafficking, the meeting was told that there is no data or reliable sources to know the actual situation about human trafficking.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh parliament early this year has ratified the United Nations Convention 1990 and ILO Multilateral Framework on Labor Migration, which the officials said is a proactive step forward.

The officials are confident that Bangladesh would be able to steer away from tier 2 human trafficking watch lists and move upwards soon.

Trafficking in Persons Report 2011:

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