UN Network for Collective Action to Address Trafficking in Bangladesh

Bangladesh United Nations Network on Migration and members of the Counter-Trafficking in Persons Technical Working Group have urged the government of Bangladesh, civil society actors, and private sector partners to collectively support a rights-based approach to combat human trafficking.

According to a press release issued by IOM office in Dhaka,  this year marks the 20th anniversary of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (Palermo Protocol), and on the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.

About 40 million people globally are victims of modern slavery or trafficking. Over 70 percent of these people are women and girls, many of whom are trapped in sexual exploitation.

In Bangladesh, a country of origin and destination for victims of trafficking, the UN estimates that thousands are trafficked every year. Recently published reports from ILO, UNICEF and UNODC present evidence on how the COVID-19 virus may have a detrimental effect on the trafficking situation in general.

The US Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report published recently measure the countries’ efforts to comply with the ‘minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking’ based on a tier ranking system.

The newly released 2020 TIP report put Bangladesh on Tier 2, graduating from the Tier 2 Watch List.

In 2019, Bangladesh demonstrated commendable efforts to combat human trafficking compared to the previous reporting period. Efforts included convicting more traffickers, modestly increasing the number of victims identified, acceding to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol, establishing seven Anti-Trafficking Tribunals as stipulated in Bangladesh’s anti-trafficking law.

The TIP report came with a set of recommendations for Bangladesh. In line with these recommendations, BDUNNM advocates for the government to establish a speedy and victim-friendly justice system.

‘The activation of the newly established Anti-Trafficking Tribunals is key to strengthen the capacity of and coordination among law enforcing agencies, border security actors, immigration authority, social welfare services and the judiciary,’ said the press release.

For better community engagement, the Network further calls for activation of Counter-Trafficking Committees (CTCs) in collaboration with the NGOs and organizations supporting survivors of trafficking.

BDUNNM is scheduled to host a public webinar on the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on Thursday. The Key stakeholders from government, UN, and civil society are expected to provide an overview of the situation in Bangladesh and report on the impact of counter-trafficking efforts, according to IOM.

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