Misuse of the Internet, particularly social media, gives a rise to human trafficking in Bangladesh, foreign representatives and rights activists have pointed out, saying that it's time to fight the trafficking using the same tool.
"As traffickers are doing their job using technology, we can also use the technology to speak out against it [human trafficking]" British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson said at an event in the capital on Saturday.
On the eve of World Day against Trafficking, the International Organisation for Migration arranged the programme titled "Combating Human Trafficking in the Context of Technology Use and its Abuse" at a capital hotel, which Switzerland Ambassador Nathalie Chuard, among others, took part in.
Echoing Robert Dickson, the Switzerland envoy said human trafficking has increased due to social media. "We can also use social media to prevent trafficking."
Both the envoys said their governments have long been working with Bangladesh to prevent such crimes and they are prepared to provide further assistance in this regard.
Participating in the event, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said raising awareness is a must to prevent human trafficking. He also emphasised appropriate actions by law enforcement agencies and the identification of risk areas in this regard.
"The government is showing zero tolerance to human trafficking," said Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan. He also spoke on the Rohingya issue and said Rohingyas are now a burden for Bangladesh.
"Bangladesh wants their safe returns," the minister added.
Senior Home Secretary Md Akhter Hossain, Expatriates' Welfare Secretary Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Gwyn Lewis and IOM Chief of Mission and Coordinator for Bangladesh Abdusattor Esoev were present at Saturday's event.
Speakers also said human traffickers entering cyberspace, particularly on Facebook and TikTok, make people victims by showing various lures. This trend has increased amid the pandemic.
So, the government and stakeholders should take the right initiatives to curb this heinous crime, they suggested while criticising the delay in the trial of lawsuits filed under the Prevention of Human Trafficking Act and the lack of exemplary punishments for the offenders.
The traffickers are also laundering money, they added.