Legal migration, jobs for the poor can reduce trafficking
Experts at a consultation yesterday said encouraging legal migration in the developed countries and creating employment opportunities for poor section of people in the country all the year round can be effective means to prevent human trafficking and labour exploitation.
Human trafficking is an organised crime across the world which is also a serious human rights violation, but its real causes are not adequately addressed yet, they added, calling for united actions for awareness, legal reforms and prosecuting the traffickers.
The experts said this at a national-level consultation on 'Interventions in human trafficking' organised by Concern Universal Bangladesh and Terre des Hommes Italy Foundation and supported by International Organisation for Migration (IOM) at Brac Centre Inn in the city with IOM Regional Representative Rabab Fatima in the chair.
Pointing to European countries, Home Secretary Abdul Karim said, “We have to encourage legal migration… Many more jobs are expected to be created in Europe. You can meet the labour demands by hiring workers from countries like us.”
Many asylum seekers are regularised in those countries, but they are always not good people. They also flee their own countries with criminal records, he said, adding “If you encourage legal migration, it will give a win-win situation.”
Stating that the government has put counter-trafficking issue on a priority agenda, Abdul Karim, who spoke as the chief guest at the inaugural session, said: “We are very serious to detect traffickers and prosecute them. We have already delivered death penalty to eight traffickers.”
He said the government has trained law enforcers as well as religious leaders and introduced community policing to deal with trafficking. “We are aware of our obligations. We want to be known as decent society.”
In his presentation, Concern Universal Research Specialist Shankor Paul said acute poverty and familial crisis have been found to be two very significant causes of human trafficking.
Addressing these issues by providing employment opportunities to reduce economic hardship and empowerment of women can help combat the menace, he noted.
The experts said formation of community-based organisations to function as watchdogs on human mobility and involving the local government bodies on the issues can help prevent human trafficking.
They also suggested conducting comprehensive social studies to find out linkages between economic migration and human trafficking, identify power structures linked to such crimes and share studies and best practices among NGOs so that all can effectively work to combat trafficking.
There might be committees in the community that can verify if the documents of the aspirant migrants are original to check fraudulent practices, the consultation recommended.
IOM Regional Representative Rabab Fatima lauded the government efforts in combating human trafficking, saying that having an inter-ministerial committee on anti-trafficking and collaboration with international and national NGOs are very positive.
Bangladesh's position in the recent Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report is very encouraging in the sense that the country has performed better than those of the other countries in South Asia, she said.
Programme Manager for Governance and Human Rights of European Commission (EC) in Dhaka Claudia Sassi said the EC is committed to stop sexual and labour exploitation and prevent the victims of trafficking.
“It is a complex issue that demands diversified strategy,” she said, adding that the root causes of such crimes must be critically identified and addressed.
Ensuring birth registration to all the countrymen and basic education can also help in this regard, Claudia mentioned.
Stephan Bonduelle of Concern Universal, Mizanur Rahman of IOM, Dr Mizanur Rahman of Dhaka University and Prof Zakir Hossain of Chittagong University also spoke.