Bangladesh has made significant efforts to prevent trafficking in persons, according to an annual report by the US Department of State.
However, the government has not met the minimum standards in several key areas to eliminate human trafficking, says the report styled "Trafficking in Persons Report" published on Thursday.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, in a reaction Friday, said Bangladesh is committed to stop human trafficking and the world has recognised the government's efforts.
According to the report that covered a period of 12 months beginning from April 2019 to March this year, Bangladesh's increased efforts helped it earn an upgrade to Tier-2 in the three-tier ranking of countries fighting human trafficking.
The report mentioned the efforts made by the government included convicting more traffickers, modestly increasing the number of victims identified, acceding to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol, and establishing seven anti-trafficking tribunals at the close of the reporting period as stipulated in Bangladesh's anti-trafficking law.
In addition, the report highlighted that the country continued to allow humanitarian access to the Rohingya camps.
The three-tier ranking was created based on how governments worldwide maintain the minimum standards of Trafficking Victims Protection Act 2000 (TVPA) to eliminate trafficking.
Tier-1 represents governments that have fully met TVPA's minimum standards.
Tier-2 indicates they are yet to meet it fully but have made significant efforts in this regard. Tier-2 Watch List represents the same quality of Tier-2 but the number of trafficking victims is very high where countries have failed to take proportional actions or provide evidence of it.
Tier-3 includes countries that have neither met the minimum standards nor taken any significant actions.
Bangladesh, in the previous three editions of the report, was bracketed into the Tier-2 Watch List.
This year's report grouped Bangladesh with India and Nepal in the Tier-2 while Bhutan, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan were placed in Tier-2 Watch List.
Afghanistan from South Asia and Nicaragua from North America appeared as Tier-3 countries.
None of the South Asian nations could make it to the Tier-1.
According to the report, law enforcing agencies of Bangladesh decreased investigations into trafficking cases.
Although there are hundreds of credible reports of forced labour and sex trafficking of Rohingya, they continued to deny credible reports of official complicity in trafficking, it said.
The government showed lack of effort to identify the victims of child sex trafficking, including in licensed brothels. Even the government did not report efforts to provide services to more than 1,000 Bangladeshi forced labour victims in Saudi Arabia during the reporting period, it added.
Moreover, the agency charged with certifying citizens for work abroad, the Bureau of Manpower and Employment Training (BMET), allowed recruitment agencies to exclude from required pre-departure training information on human trafficking, specifically how to file a complaint against one's employer or recruitment agency, it said.
BMET also forced some migrant workers to arbitrate labour violations with their exploitative recruitment agencies without representation.
The report also highlighted insufficient victim care and lack of victim identification procedures.
"We have a long way to go. [But] we will win for sure. Build a strong public opinion [against human trafficking]," said Foreign Minister Momen.
He also said relatives cannot avoid responsibility for the sufferings of the trafficking victims.
"Help the government. We want to stop human trafficking," he called on the people.