Bangladesh needs an integrated approach to develop public awareness against trafficking of persons and smuggling of individuals, Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain said yesterday.
"We feel that strong commitment of the government and sensitised judiciary can play a vital role to prevent human trafficking," he said.
He was addressing the closing ceremony of the two-day Bangladesh E-judicial Colloquium, organised virtually.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime's (UNODC) "Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants- Bangladesh" (GLO.ACT-Bangladesh) Project organised the colloquium.
Addressing the event as chief guest, the chief justice said human trafficking has become an acute threat in Bangladesh in recent decades.
A large number of women and children are displaced from the offense and trafficked in different parts of the country. Besides, a significant number of people are trafficked in many other countries from Bangladesh, he said.
Mahmud Hossain said the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act-2012 provides a broad legislative framework for prevention of trafficking, prosecution of traffickers and protection of potential victims of human trafficking.
Besides, the constitution of Bangladesh serves as a potent anti-trafficking legislation.
The constitution guarantees the right of every citizen to enjoy protection of law, and imposes an obligation for the state to prevent violation of human rights in any form, that also include human trafficking, he added.
The chief justice said equipping judges and prosecutors with better understanding of law related to human trafficking and related crimes are particularly important.
"Trafficking undermines democracy, rule of law and accountability of governments," he said, adding that it is a great violation of human rights and considered one of the most serious crimes under both local and international laws, he further said.
The CJ said the judiciary has played to deal with and disposed of trafficking cases with utmost urgency.
The anti-human trafficking tribunals set at seven divisional headquarters disposed of 950 trafficking cases in 2019, said the CJ.
In 2019, the High Court Division of the Supreme Court in a writ petition directed the government to form a high-powered committee in order to probe the incident of human trafficking and to identify the travel agencies and human traffickers responsible for the deaths of 37 Bangladeshi nationals in the Mediterranean Sea, he added.