Unemployment and poverty are the main reasons behind human trafficking in Bangladesh, speakers said at a webinar on Wednesday.
At the event titled "Combating Human Trafficking: Scope and Challenges of Promoting Safe Migration and Protecting Trafficking Survivors", they emphasised creating job opportunities to combat the trafficking.
With the help of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the webinar was organised by Winrock International and Brac Migration Programme ahead of the World Day Against Trafficking in Person (July 30).
As the chief guest, Nasima Begum, chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, said training is very important for labour migration seekers, because trained people do not become victims to trafficking.
She focused on comprehensive measures by the expatriate welfare and overseas employment ministry, foreign affairs ministry, home ministry and other private stakeholders to prevent trafficking.
Abu Bakar Siddique, additional secretary (political and ICT) at Ministry of Home Affairs, said the inadequate job opportunity is the main reason for human trafficking in the country. "If there were sufficient employment opportunities, people would never take the risk to fall a victim to the net of traffickers."
"We need sufficient investments for creating employment along with the comprehensive measures by the government and private organisations," he added.
Muzaffar Ahmed, joint secretary (monitoring and enforcement wing) at the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment, said human trafficking is mostly committed by travel agencies through visit visas or tourist visas. "We have taken actions against various agencies for human trafficking. Eleven criminal cases have been filed with the Dhaka court."
Shariful Hasan, head of the Brac Migration Programme, said poverty and unemployment are the key reasons of trafficking in persons. Labour migration trafficking is the most-recorded case in the country.
The programme was chaired by Hedayetullah Al Mamoon, chairman of the NGO Foundation. He said trafficking involves a business worth $150 billion over the world.
Dipta Rakshit, the team leader from the Ashshash project of Winrock International, moderated the event.
'Working on the frontline to end human trafficking'
On December 18, 2013, the United Nations General Assembly recognised July 30 as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons.
The UN has declared a theme titled "Committed to the Cause – Working on the Frontline to End Human Trafficking" to observe the day this year.
This year, the theme will focus on the honouring first responders helping to end human trafficking: law enforcing officers, social workers, healthcare professionals, NGO staff and others working to protect the vulnerable.
These are the people who work in different sectors – identifying, supporting, counselling and seeking justice for victims of trafficking, and challenging the impunity of the traffickers.
During the Covid-19 crisis, the essential role of the first responders has become even more important.