A dismaying report by the US State Department shows that the human trafficking situation in Bangladesh has gotten worse. According to the Trafficking in Persons Report 2017, Bangladesh has slid down to the Tier 2 Watch List from Tier 2 — the country finds itself in the company of nations like Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Pakistan, and Zimbabwe in this part of the list.
While the report does acknowledge that Bangladesh has made significant efforts to fight the scourge of human trafficking by finalising and adopting the implementing rules for the 2012 Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act in January this year, as well as the drafting and implementation roadmap, is it enough?
Clearly, our efforts need to be amped up from previous years, and that has sadly not been the case. It is unconscionable that, in today’s world, human trafficking, which is nothing short of modern-day slavery, is allowed to not only exist, but thrive. Firstly, the government must come down hard on all parties involved in this horrific enterprise.
This means thoroughly investigating, prosecuting, and throwing the book at manpower officials, border officials, and law enforcement officers complicit in the crime. People rescued from the hands of human traffickers must be given adequate care and rehabilitation according to their specific needs. Our officials must be given proper training on how to identify and deal with trafficking cases, and deal with victims with the level of sensitivity that is needed. We have already heard the horror stories of those who have fallen victim to unscrupulous manpower agents — stories that leave us mortified.
Bangladesh needs to protect its people, and right now it is failing to do so.
Dhaka Tribune, June 29, 2017