US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller yesterday reassured his country's commitment to work with Bangladesh in combating human trafficking.
"The United States reconfirms our commitment to partnering with all of you to fight human trafficking," he told a webinar, marking the World Day against Trafficking in Persons.
Bangladesh United Nations Network on Migration (BDUNNM) organised the webinar which was also addressed by government officials, members of civil society organisations working on migration, and officials and representatives of UN agencies.
"Human trafficking [or] modern slavery has no place in our world anywhere, anymore," added the US ambassador.
Addressing as the key guest speaker, the US envoy said human trafficking is a "difficult and complex" issue and that trafficking networks are "sophisticated, far-reaching and dangerous."
He stressed the need for keeping up the good fight against traffickers, saying fighting human trafficking remains one of the US embassy's top priorities.
He said human traffickers prey upon the most vulnerable and look for opportunities to exploit them.
Instability and lack of access to critical services caused by the Covid-19 pandemic mean the number of people vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers is rapidly growing, he added.
"My sense of urgency is magnified by the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic," he said, adding human trafficking is a global threat necessitating global response.
Earl R Miller said fight against the crime requires joint collaboration from government, civil society activists and international organisations.
The fight must involve training law enforcement officials, bringing trafficking in persons (TIP) cases to court, building strong community networks, protecting survivors, and enhancing cooperation between countries to investigate trafficking networks, he added.
The US envoy said Bangladesh's establishing of seven anti-human trafficking tribunals is a "huge step forward" to fight the crime.
On Bangladesh's upgrade from "Tier 2 Watch List" to "Tier 2" in the US State Department's TIP Report 2020, he congratulated all those who fought tirelessly to pursue accountability for traffickers and freedom for the victims.
However, he said the struggle continues, calling upon Bangladesh government to fulfill recommendations made in the TIP report.
The ambassador mentioned four specific recommendations for immediate government actions.
To this end, he mentioned that he and his colleague Ambassador-at-Large John Richmond wrote an op-ed published in The Daily Star on June 26, emphasising the four recommendations.
The US envoy also lauded Bangladesh's effort to fulfill the objectives of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, known as the "Palermo Protocol."