People involved in human trafficking must be brought to book and the victims should be provided better and speedy solutions.
Survivours and families y members of the victims of human trafficking made the demand while sharing their stories at a webinar organised by the Edward M Kennedy (EMK) Centre and WARBE Development Foundation on Sunday.
The webinar styled "Stories of human trafficking: Straight from the victims" became a platform for Bangladeshi victims of human trafficking to share their agony with common people, mostly youth.
Moderated by WARBE Director Jasiya Khatoon, the virtual seminar was divided into two parts. In the first part, three returnee migrants who fell victim to human trafficking, and husband of another victim shared their stories that covered how they fell victim to human trafficking and the consequences.
One of the returnee migrants, who went to a middle-eastern country to work as a housemaid, claimed she was forced to work at three separate houses and was not allowed to sleep.
To add more to her sorrows, she was beaten up mercilessly time and again for trivial matters and did not receive any medical support. Amid working for almost 24 hours a day, she did not receive any remuneration and was eventually forced to return when the pandemic broke out.
She is suffering from spinal injury and cannot work anymore.
The participants were shocked to hear the story of another victim who is now stuck in another country of the middle-east and is being subjected to continuous torture for almost two years. Her husband was connected during the webinar, who is now struggling to get his wife back and shared the story of her.
In the later part, experts and practitioners shed some light on the causes of human trafficking and the possible way out from the crisis.
Binoy Krishna Mallick, executive director of Rights, Jashore said, "Many migrant workers are kept in the dark about the migration process. So, when they report their stories, they cannot even tell the names of the people involved. It is not only difficult to help the victims but tracing the miscreants is also difficult."
He added, "If workers travel through proper channels and appropriate recruiting agencies, then it is possible to trace and track them and bring them back in cases of emergency. Even today, a case was resolved in the Jashore court in front of me. Efforts have to come from all sides to resolve these issues."
Dipta Rakshit, team leader of Ashshash at Winrock International opined, "After working for 14 years in this sector, I can attest that the more we have intervened in trafficking, the more the traffickers have become devious with their routes.
"Women are specifically exploited, while alluring them with promises of high wages is a common way to trap them. We need to rethink why we have been unable to convey this information to these victims."
Prosecution is the best prevention, she noted, adding, "If we can set examples of punishing the perpetrators, only then we will be able to reduce such crimes."
Muhammad Mahdy Hassan, national programme officer of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) claimed, "We all know the acts against Human Trafficking and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons of the UN which has been signed by the Bangladesh government.
"More discussion needs to be instigated in our country to match national efforts with global standards."
The webinar was organised as a part of EMK Centre's week-long campaign on Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness.
In 2010, by presidential proclamation, January was declared National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in USA and since then American spaces around the world along with the people of USA celebrates January as the month of human trafficking prevention and awareness.