UN favours‘National Authority’ to tackle human trafficking
The UN chief in Bangladesh, Mia Seppo, has suggested establishing a "coordination mechanism" such as the 'National Authority' to address the human trafficking challenges.
She said the government has taken several initiatives to curb trafficking in Bangladesh.
"It demonstrated efforts by finalising and adopting implementing rules for the 2012 Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act (PSHTA) in January 2017, and by drafting an implementation roadmap for the 2018-2022 National Action Plan (NPA).
"However, a number of challenges remain, as demonstrated by the fact that Bangladesh has received a low ranking (Tier 2 watch list) for the last three consecutive years in the US trafficking in persons Report 2019," she said, speaking at an event in Dhaka on Sunday.
"Government recognises that major challenges revolve around coordination, capacity, resources and data."
The IOM Bangladesh as a coordinator and secretariat of UN Migration Network organised the event in coordination with Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs with financial support from the US Department of State, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).
This was organised against the backdrop of the United States' push for the enforcement of laws against trafficking in Bangladesh.
Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque said a "series of actions" against human traffickers will be initiated in Bangladesh soon in the wake of the government's decision to ratify the 'Palermo Protocol'.
This protocol, to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, is described as the 'cornerstone' for national and international anti-trafficking efforts by the US embassy's political counsellor Brent Christensen.
The UN resident coordinator said trafficking "disproportionately affects people who are already discriminated against and vulnerable to exploitation and exclusion, those who are poor, have limited choices and access to livelihoods."
"The majority of trafficking victims and survivors are women and girls. Many are refugees or internally displaced persons as trafficking is both a cross-border concern and a national issue," Mia Seppo said.
"Bangladesh is one of the States affected by trafficking. In fact, it is an increasingly important concern for the country.
"Although clear data on human trafficking is not easily available, there is evidence that both in-country and cross-border trafficking exist," she said.
"Addressing the root causes to break the cycle of trafficking is key."
She welcomed the commitment of the government of Bangladesh to accede to the Palermo Protocol in the near future, and said the "UN stands ready to support national stakeholders in its implementation".