Peoples' vulnerability to exploitation by traffickers is rapidly growing amid the Covid-19 pandemic, speakers said at a webinar on Thursday.
They emphasised on having strong collaboration among countries to prevent human trafficking.
The Bangladesh United Nations Network on Migration organised the programme on Thursday, on the occasion of the World Day against Trafficking in Persons.
Earl R Miller, US Ambassador to Bangladesh, said, "Human trafficking is a global threat necessitating a global response. This crime requires strong collaboration from the government, civil society, activists, and international organisations."
He added, "My sense of urgency is magnified by the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic. We know traffickers prey upon the most vulnerable and look for opportunities to exploit them. Instability and lack of access to critical services caused by the pandemic mean the number of people vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers is rapidly growing."
He further said, "Our fight must involve training law enforcement officials, bringing trafficking cases to court, building strong community networks, protecting survivors, and enhancing cooperation between countries to investigate trafficking networks."
Miller recommended taking all actions necessary for employing the seven anti-human trafficking tribunals to reduce cases, enhancing victim care for all trafficking survivors, ensuring safe labour migration, and taking measures to investigate reports of sex trafficking in formal and informal brothels.
The ambassador also congratulated Bangladesh for improving its position in the Annual Trafficking in Persons report of the United States.
Former foreign secretary Shahidul Haque, who serves as International Organisation for Migration's (IOM) policy advisor, said, "The human trafficking situation is dire globally. Traffickers' network is very active and they are smarter.
"Inter-sectoral coordination is necessary to break the networks of these criminals."
Abu Bakr Siddique, additional secretary at the Ministry of Home Affairs, said, "A research revealed that 80 percent of the trafficking case is cross-border in Bangladesh."
He suggested increasing the capacity of Bangladesh's labour wings in different countries.
Samia Anjum, director general of the United Nations Wing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, "The evidence from other countries is necessary to handle trans-border trafficking cases.
"If international stakeholders would not assist and create pressure on Myanmar, the safety of Rohingyas will be a tougher job."
AHM Habibur Rahman Bhuiyan, joint secretary at the Ministry of Law, said, "The number of human trafficking suppression tribunals is not sufficient. They should set up four-five more tribunals in the districts where more cases are being found."
Dr Abul Hossain, project director at the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, Emrah Guler, IOM deputy chief of mission in Bangladesh spoke at the webinar among others.
AKM Masud Ali, INCIDIN Bangladesh' executive director served as the moderator of the event.