Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq today said the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and economic downturn are leaving more people at risk of being trafficked.
"Human trafficking is a rapidly evolving crime requiring a comprehensive and well-coordinated response. The COVID-19 crisis and economic downturn are leaving more men, women and children at risk of being trafficked," he said.
The minister said these while addressing a webinar titled 'Bangladesh E-Judicial Colloquium to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants', an official release said.
Organized by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the webinar was also addressed by its Director, Division for Treaty Affairs, John Brandolino, Regional Office for South Asia representative Sergey Kaplnos, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh Rensje Teerink and Law and Justice Division Secretary Md Golam Sarwar, among others.
"…The COVID-19 crisis has further increased vulnerabilities and compounded trafficking risk. The government of Bangladesh would like to step up action to prevent exploitation in the COVID-19 crisis, to identify and support trafficking victims, and bring perpetrators to justice," the law minister said.
Seeking UNODC support regarding facilitating law enforcement and criminal justice cooperation, promoting victim-centred responses focused on women and youth and improving the world's knowledge on trafficking trends in the country's judiciary, Anisul said these are among the key dimensions.
Reiterating Bangladesh's stand for safe and systematic migration, the law minister said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been at the forefront of global policy debate, articulating the idea for the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration.
"Being the seventh largest recipient country of global remittances, Bangladesh has set a clear priority on protecting its migrants' rights and interests both at home and abroad. In this regard, Bangladesh passed the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act, 2012 and its Rules 2017, acceded to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) in July 2011," he further said.
Anisul added that the country is currently implementing a comprehensive National Plan of Action for Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking (2018-2022).
"If we are to address human trafficking in these conditions, development and security are fundamental. For this reason, we believe we should join forces and integrate our efforts into the wider agenda of multilateralism on development and stability. With millions of people suffering from this global crime, we must act urgently," he said.
The law minister said he expects that this "Bangladesh E-Judicial Colloquium'' would present an opportunity to better understand the types of cases that are currently being brought before the courts.