BD not doing enough to eliminate human trafficking: US

BD not doing enough to eliminate human trafficking: US

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Dhaka, June 28 – The government of Bangladesh does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking though it is making significant efforts to do so, according to a new US report.The government demonstrated significant efforts during the reporting period by finalising and adopting the implementing rules for the 2012 Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act (PSHTA) in January 2017 and drafting an implementation roadmap for the 2015-2017 national action plan.
The observation was made at the Trafficking in Persons Report 2017 released by the US Department of State on Wednesday (BDT).
However, the government did not demonstrate increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, said the US report adding that the government’s investigations, prosecutions, and convictions of trafficking crimes decreased, the report observed.
The report mentioned that official complicity in trafficking crimes remained a serious problem, yet the government did not make efforts to investigate, prosecute, and convict allegedly complicit law enforcement, border, and manpower officials.
The number of victims identified by the government decreased, it said.
The government remained without a formal mechanism to refer trafficking victims to protective services and, protection services, when acquired, did not provide rehabilitation services designed for trafficking victims’ specific needs nor were they provided for adult male victims, according to the US report.
It further said NGOs reported victims were frequently re-trafficked due to insufficient care while the government maintained labour export agreements with several countries that aim to tackle recruitment fees, the government’s continued allowance of high recruitment fees combined with insufficient efforts to address illegally operating recruitment sub-agents left workers vulnerable to trafficking.
Bangladesh was, therefore, downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List, the mentioned.
It also put some recommendations for Bangladesh, including taking steps, to eliminate all recruitment fees charged to workers by licensed labour recruiters and instead ensures they are paid by employers and increasing prosecutions and convictions, particularly of labour traffickers and fraudulent labor recruiters, while strictly respecting due process.
It also suggested the government to establish guidelines for provision of adequate victim care and standard operating procedures for the referral of victims to such services and to investigate thoroughly credible allegations of government complicity in trafficking and prosecute officials who are suspected of being complicit.
The recommendations also include enhancing the training provided to officials, including law enforcement, labour inspectors, and immigration officers, on methods to identify trafficking cases and refer victims to protection services, expanding the support services available to victims, including adult male victims, within Bangladesh and at Bangladesh’s embassies abroad, expanding the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment’s (MEWOE) mandate to include the regulation of sub-agents, improving quality of pre-departure trainings, including sessions on labor rights, labour laws, and methods to access justice and assistance in destination countries.

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