Stakeholders at an advocacy meeting on Saturday called for prompt implementation of existing laws to prevent human trafficking from Bangladesh.
Solidarity Center– Bangladesh Office and SAARCLAW jointly organized the Advocacy Meeting on Analysis and Application of the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act 2012.
Labour lawyers, trade union leaders, migrant rights activists and journalists who took part in the dialogue demanded curbing human trafficking as it was victimizing men, women and children in Bangladesh.
Due to lack of enforcement of the relevant laws, the trafficking was frequently taking places and the traffickers were not properly prosecuted in the country, they said.
They, however, emphasized grooming skilled manpower with quality training on requirement of oversea job markets and sending them abroad to prevent trafficking.
Country Program director of Solidarity Center-Bangladesh office Christopher K Johnson in his welcome address said over 12 million Bangladeshi workers have crossed the border since 1976 seeking jobs overseas.
He said that in last five years many thousands Bangladeshis became victims of trafficking but only 29 traffickers were convicted.
Solidarity Center’s senior program officer Dr Lily Gomes moderating the advocacy meeting underscored importance on involving the country’s trade unions to play their due roles to combat trafficking.
Speaking as chief guest, Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training director general Salim Reza said that the government was showing ‘zero tolerance role’ to combat human trafficking in the country.
Describing migrants’ role in the economy, he said that they sent over $15 billion of remittance in the outgoing year.
SAARCLAW secretary general Muhammad Mohsin Rashid who was presiding over the session called for creating social awareness to prevent trafficking from Bangladesh.
He suggested the government to groom skilled manpower providing proper training to the country’s youths for jobs in Europe.
‘Whole Europe is still green. Let the aspirant young migrants learn German and French language to be skilled enough to get jobs in Europe,’ he said.
Supreme Court lawyer Barrister Lutfun Kadir made a PopwerPoint presentation on ‘Explanation of Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act, 2012.
Due to lack of implementation of the law, she said that there was very low conviction of the human traffickers in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh National Women Lawyers’ Association president Advocate Fowzia Karim Feroze said that investigation of the trafficking cases was not being completed on time stipulated in the law.
‘The delaying process increases suffering of victims,’ she said.
Trade Union leader Nazma Akter said that Bangladeshi migrants called for ensuring equal rights of migrant workers as Bangladeshis were going abroad to earn wages but Indian Migrants were getting salaries.
She emphasized the need for taking efforts of the civil society organizations, NGOs and the government to protect the migrant workers from getting trafficked.
Bangladeshi Ovhibashi Mohila Sramik Association director Sumiaya Islam said that proper implementation of the law could ensure justice to the migrants.
WARBE Development Foundation director Jasiya Khatoon, BOMSA chairman Lily Jahan, Awaj Foundation director for migration Anisur Rahman Khan and Akota Garment Workers Federation general secretary Kamrul Hasan among others also spoke at the meeting.