Trafficking in Women and Children in Bangladesh: Laws and Strategies for Prevention

Trafficking in Women and Children in Bangladesh: Laws and Strategies for Prevention

Fardaus Ara, Md Mostafizur Rahman Khan
Copyright: © 2022 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-3926-5.ch007
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Human trafficking has emerged as one of the world's most heinous and ubiquitous kinds of human rights violations against women and children. It has now become a serious social and political concern on a global and national scale. Bangladesh is primarily a source and transit country of cross-border trafficking due to several factors. Using qualitative methods, this study attempts to investigate the current situation and the laws and other strategies adopted by the government of Bangladesh to mitigate and/or battle the problem. It is found that enforcement of law alone cannot combat this evil. This study recommends stringent enforcement of the law, regional and international cooperation, and public awareness to prevent and combat trafficking in women and children in Bangladesh.
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Trafficking in humans is the rapidly expanding illegal enterprise in the world, with an estimated global market worth around $32 billion per annum. This heinous crime along with illegal arms trafficking is the second most lucrative criminal industry in the world following drug trafficking (United States Department of Justice, 2016). Human trafficking takes place through international supply chains and migratory routes affecting every country, irrespective of socio-economic status, history, or government system (Clark & Poucki, 2018). Since the United Nations Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (the Palermo Protocol) was opened for signature on the 12th of December 2000 in Palermo, Italy, 178 parties have ratified the Protocol and adopted some legal mechanisms to deal with this crime (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2020). Yet, the overall number of prosecutions continues to be insignificant as many countries lack adequate expertise to detect, investigate, and successfully frame cases against human trafficking (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2016).

Domestic trafficking (trafficking within a national territory) is rising along with transnational trafficking (Clark & Poucki, 2018; United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2016). This criminal activity not only violates the human rights of the victims but also leaves them vulnerable and unprotected, exposing survivors to various sorts of assault and exploitation. However, women are the main targets of traffickers as statistics of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime show that women accounted for 46% of all victims in 2018, while girls accounted for 19%. Furthermore, 20% were men and 15% were boys (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2020). The most common forms of women and children trafficking are prostitution and other forms of sex trade followed by bonded labor. Additionally, victims can be abused for other purposes like begging, forced marriages, pornography, organ extraction, and many more (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2016). Among the detected victims of trafficking worldwide, sexual exploitation accounts for 50% while 38% for forced labor. Moreover, 6% were trafficked for criminal or fraudulent activity and more than 1% to beggary. Additionally, traffickers lure people and sell them for forced marriages, organ trading, and other purposes (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 2020).

Women and children are more likely to become victims of trafficking in Bangladesh as this country is struggling with high population density, unemployment, natural catastrophe, and a shortage of resources. Each year a large number of women are trafficked from Bangladesh primarily to India, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East for sexual exploitation, forced prostitution, and domestic labor. However, it is difficult to get accurate statistics on the trafficking of women and children both domestic and transnational due to the covert nature of trafficking and the paucity of prosecutions. Organizational inefficiencies and limited capability of law-enforcing agencies, which are to a considerable extent connected with corruption, prohibit laws designed to protect women and children from being implemented (Khan, 2021). This study aims to introduce the reader to the complex issue of women and children trafficking in Bangladesh. Following content analysis, this chapter discusses the relevant national laws and strategies as well as international treaties and legislation adopted and/or ratified by the Government of Bangladesh to combat trafficking. Data for the study was gathered through analysis of secondary documentation like books, academic journal articles, local and international reports, newspapers, dissertations, and the internet.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Victims: The people who have been harmed physically, emotionally, or in some other way as a result of a crime, an accident, or other adversity.

Exploitation: The act of utilizing resources or treating people unfairly to gain profit from their work while depriving them.

Bangladesh: Bangladesh is a densely populated country in South Asia, bordered by India on all sides except for a minor border with Burma on the east and is located on the Bay of Bengal. The government is based on parliamentary democracy, with the president as the head of state and the prime minister as the head of government.

Tribunal: An individual or body appointed by the government authorized with power to make a decision based on the facts.

Ministry of Home Affairs: The Ministry of Home Affairs is in charge of maintaining internal security and domestic policies in Bangladesh.

Law Enforcement Agency: An agency responsible for the prevention, detection, investigation, or prosecution of criminal offenses.

Prevention: An action inhibits or delays the occurrence of something.

Human Rights: Human rights are the rights that all people enjoy from their birth until death. These rights vary from the most basic i.e. the right to life to those that are necessary to lead a standard life, such as food, education, job, health, and liberty.

Anti-Trafficking Legislation: The acts or laws that are adopted to combat human trafficking, particularly of women and children. Besides, these acts aim to establish the required institutional systems for the protection and support of trafficked victims, as well as to provide penalties for the offenders.

Human Trafficking: Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud, or deception to recruit, transport, transfer, harbor, or receive persons for profit. This crime can affect any person irrespective of race, age, or origin.

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