About 100,000 jobseekers from Bangladesh go abroad through irregular channels each year, said experts and rights activists on Monday.
Speaking at a consultation they said that Trafficking in Persons remain still a major concern in Bangladesh and it needs to be addressed by an integrated approach with all relevant stakeholders.
They called for ensuring punishment of perpetrators and creating awareness among the people about human trafficking.
They made the remarks at a national level consultation with stakeholders on Combating Human Trafficking and Irregular Migration. BRAC Migration Program organized the event ahead of ‘World Day against Trafficking in Persons’ that is being observed on July 30.
Shariful Islam, head of BRAC migration program made a PowerPoint presentation that showed only 0.005 per cent of the total cases against human trafficking were prosecuted between 2013 and 2018.
A total of 5716 cases were filed during the last five years under the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act-2012. Of them, only 33 people were prosecuted.
Besides, 247 trafficking cases were disposed and 4094 other cases remains under trial, according to the presentation.
Shariful Islam called it very unfortunate that Bangladesh has been placed for the third time on ‘Tier 2 Watch List’ of Trafficking In Person (TIP) report 2019.
He said Bangladesh is the 5th highest labour sending country in the world. On average 100,000 workers went abroad in irregular way each year.
Some 500,000 Bangladeshi workers returned home empty handed in the last 12 years, he also added.
He recommended for creating mass awareness, stressed need for enforcement of the existing acts and introducing reintegration supports to the victims.
Shah Alam, DIG (special investigation and intelligence) of Criminal Investigation Department (CID), said a large amount of money was laundered following the human trafficking from Bangladesh every year.
He said apart from recruiting agencies, Hajj and travel agencies also send workers abroad where jobseekers were vulnerable to human trafficking. ‘So these organisations are should be under screening properly.’
Shah Alam said the number of bad people would not be many in the country and it would not be difficult to bring them under punishment through an integrated initiative.
Abu Bakar Siddiqui, additional secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs said migration is not problem for Bangladesh. But there are huge challenges in the way of ensuring safe and orderly migration.
He said maximum of human trafficking incidents are being happened in labour migration sector.
Nazrul Islam, acting chairman at the National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh spoke as chief guest at the program . He stressed need to create integrated efforts to combat human trafficking.
He also emphasized on reviewing the existing laws to make it more effective.
‘Maximum overseas jobseekers are not well-informed about their works in job destination countries. So awareness also is very important work to make them informed about jobs abroad,’ he said.
Delivering closing remarks and vote of thanks Asif Saleh, acting executive director of BRAC said it should be created a social movement against human trafficking. ‘It is not possible to stop such crime only through prosecution. ‘