UNODC holds workshop to address human trafficking and migrant smuggling
On January 20, 2020, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) organized under the framework of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT-Bangladesh)an event titled, "Need Assessment Workshop on Capacity Building of the Criminal Justice Actors related to Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants".
Mr. Mahdy Hassan, National Programme Officer (GLO.ACT Bangladesh), UNODC Bangladesh pointed out how the nature of human trafficking differs from other crimes and why it needs special focus. "Human trafficking is a transnational organized crime but it is being treated without any specific emphasis," he explained, "Despite having adequate legislation i.e. the Human Trafficking Deterrence and Suppression Act 2012, the non-implementation is vitiating the expected outcome." He mentionedthe lack of special training or dedicated manuals on the subject matter and explained that other issues concern witness procurement during prosecution as well as lack of data maintenance and protection.
Ms. Eurídice Márquez, GLO.ACT Programme Management Officer, Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section, UNODC, Headquarters, highlighted the work of UNODC to prevent and addresshuman trafficking and smuggling of migrants. She explained how the organization collects data from different governments for the biennial UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons and shared the findings that many countries do not maintain proper data on trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrantswhereas some do not even have specific legislation criminalizing trafficking and migrant smuggling. Márquez explained, that in many countries, the two different but interconnected crimes of human trafficking and migrant smuggling are often confused with each other. Márquez also presented UNODC's work with partner countries to improve the quality of trafficking investigations and prosecutions following a human-rights and victim-centred approach.
The attending criminal justice actors, representatives from Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Trafficking in Persons Cell-Bangladesh Police, Police Bureau of Investigation (PBI), National Central Bureau-INTERPOL, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), Bangladesh Coast Guard, Special Branch (SB), Detective Branch (DB) of Bangladesh Police, Police Staff College, Ansar-VDP etc., in the interactive session expressed the need for dedicated lessons on human trafficking and migrants smuggling during their training and challenge in the application of the law for international cooperation on criminal matters.
The participants further opined that they have to improve the quality of investigations and prosecutions while ensuring the protection of the rights of the victims; the supervision of Bangladesh Missions abroad can play a crucial role in ameliorating the overall situation of trafficking and safe migration.
Raihan Rahman Rafid is Sub-Editor at the Daily Observer. He can be reached at [email protected]