The US Department of State in its recently-published Trafficking in Persons 2020 report has mentioned a Bangladeshi member of parliament's involvement in human trafficking through his recruiting agency.
The parliamentarian is currently in the custody of the Kuwaiti authority for an investigation into money laundering and human trafficking charges.
The report stated that because a number of government officials, including parliamentarians, maintained close ties to foreign employment agencies, there were concerns that such officials had conflicts of interest in approving migrant-friendly practices, such as prosecution of abusive recruitment agencies and increasing protections for migrant workers.
In February this year, a Bangladeshi parliamentarian bribed some officials in Kuwait to bring more than 20,000 Bangladeshi migrant workers abroad on work visas that stipulated a different job and lower salaries than their contracts. The parliamentarian then paid the workers lesser wages or not at all.
The report also said the media reported that from 2015 to 2018, Malaysian employment agencies and 10 Bangladeshi recruitment agencies bribed officials and politicians in both countries to create a monopoly on recruitment of Bangladeshi workers.
The monopoly increased the recruitment fees charged to workers from Tk37,000 ($440) to more than Tk400,000 ($4,710) per person—higher than the government's legal maximum—which increased Bangladeshi migrant workers' vulnerability to debt-based coercion.
After two warnings from the High Court, the government submitted its investigation report in November 2019. The report awaits hearing.