Police rescued 32 young women on April 29 suspecting a bid to traffick them to Saudi Arabia. Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) said the concerned recruiting agent had valid documents in favour of their recruitment in Saudi Arabia.
According to a recent survey conducted by the Human Rights Association (HRA), an NGO, human trafficking over the past decade has reached an alarming proportion. In Bangladesh it is very high. Twenty thousand women and children are trafficked every year. A powerful syndicate comprising reportedly a dozen top ranking recruiting agencies is involved in human trafficking. The institutions collect women and children alluring them with good jobs in most cases in the Middle East through their district and upazila agents throughout Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is a country of origin and transit for women and children trafficked to India, Pakistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the countries in the Middle East. Human trafficking has spread slavery to every continent and most countries of the world. Its high profit, low penalty nature makes it attractive to dishonest recruiting agencies. Poverty lies at the root of this problem. Specific law also needs to be developed and implemented. In many countries including the UK, there are no laws which prohibit trafficking rather, the victims are treated as illegal immigrants and imprisoned or deported.
The Government of Bangladesh (GOB) has to fully comply with the standards to make significant efforts to prosecute traffickers and remove complicity of government officials for the elimination of this problem. Bangladesh should sign the UN protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, supplementing the UN convention against transnational organised crime (2000) that calls for the prevention, suppression, and punishment for trafficking in people.
As remittance comprises a considerable portion of our GDP, GOB must ensure safety of workers abroad at its own initiative. Bangladesh needs to urge the governments of manpower importing countries to promulgate an enforceable “bill of rights” that will be applicable to migrant workers and stress the importance to fully uphold legal responsibilities under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. A well thought-out and integrated effort will definitely help improve the situation.
The New Nation, Bangladesh`s Indipendent New Source, 03.05.2005