Amid Bangladesh's progress in human development index, Bangladesh has ranked fourth in the list of most common nationalities of Mediterranean Sea and land arrivals in Europe according to the UNCHR documentation on refugee situation from January 2020.
The grim scenario of illegal immigration and human trafficking in Bangladesh came up in the webinar "Dealing with Human Trafficking: Lessons learned and way forward," organised by EMK Center and WARBE Development Foundation on Monday, said a press release.
The webinar covered the situation of human trafficking in Bangladesh, key causes and relevant factors, mindset of traffickers and victims, and the issues with governance and laws in this sector.
BRAC's Migration Programme's head Shariful Hasan said, "Unrecorded cases is a major problem in reducing illegal migration and when the cases are recorded, less than 5% goes to settlement."
"Awareness campaign conducted by community leaders such as chairman or religious leaders such as Imam may bring in huge transformation in the mindset of people," he suggested, mentioning the finding of a BRAC research.
"Even those who are migrating through legal channels are becoming victims of trafficking in the host countries," said Bangladesh Ovibashi Mohila Sramik Association's Director Farida Yeasmin.
Recalling the case of a young woman who was left in a washroom for 7 days without food, she said, "Often, our female workers who migrate to middle-east through government recognised recruiting agencies, find themselves in dire conditions."
She blamed lack of transparency, reporting and insufficient accountability for such cases.
An expert in this field, Professor Ishrat Shamim, who is the President of Centre for Women and Children Studies remarked "Migration, in my opinion, is actually more complex than trafficking. Migrant domestic workers are exploited and abused, and thus becomes traffic victims."
"This is no less than slavery," she added.
She recommended that the legal frameworks need to be more structured and the laws should be strengthened enough to try the perpetrators.
The webinar, moderated by Masud Ali, the Executive Director of INCIDIN Bangladesh, was organized as a part of EMK Center's week-long campaign on Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness.
In 2010, by presidential proclamation, January was declared National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in USA and since then American spaces around the world along with the people of USA celebrates January as the month of human trafficking prevention and awareness.
Questions and feedback followed the formal discussion part and the panelists shared their experience and answered to the questions accordingly.