US secretary of state Antony Blinken has honoured six individuals from around the world as the 2022 Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Report Heroes in an event hosted by the US Department of State in Washington DC on Tuesday.
The six individuals include Mohammed Tariqul Islam, a Bangladeshi anti-trafficking organiser.
The TIP Heroes award honours individuals who demonstrate exceptional commitment to combat human trafficking.
“Thank you to our six 2022 TIP Heroes,” said Antony Blinken at the event, “our heroes are making a huge difference in the lives of people around the world.”
"Tariqul Islam is a tireless advocate for victims of human trafficking whose work has helped increase the Bangladesh government's capacity to investigate and prosecute traffickers,” the 2022 TIP reported said, adding "he has led anti-trafficking organisations that have facilitated assistance to more than 2,000 trafficking victims."
Kari Johnstone, acting director of the office to monitor and combat Trafficking in Persons at the US State Department, speaking at the event, firstly honoured Md Tariqul Islam of Bangladesh, “In recognition of his unyielding determination to provide assistance to victims of human trafficking, improve the investigation and prosecution capacity of the Bangladeshi government, and increase cross-border collaboration to facilitate repatriation of survivors.”
Md Tariqul Islam is the country director of the UK-based NGO, Justice & Care.
The 2021 TIP report reads, “He has organised cross-border consultations between Bangladesh and India to increase collaboration on victim repatriation efforts. Additionally, his close working relationship with the Bangladesh ministry of home affairs helped facilitate a strong partnership between the public and private sector, including by helping the ministry draft its National Plan of Action (2018-2022) to combat human trafficking."
"His trusted advice, authentic perspective, and frontline experiences make him a leader and respected voice in shaping Bangladesh's response to trafficking," the report added.
Tariqul, speaking at the event, said, "It’s an honor to be part of small network of individuals who have been recognised in the fight against human trafficking. But of course, I know the survivors are the real heroes.”
He said, “The TIP Report Heroes give us hope. The network of heroes is a reminder of the power each of us has to respond to the growing issues of the human trafficking.”
“In Bangladesh, we have the privilege of working with hundreds of survivors of human trafficking. We watch them with joy and pride as they rebuild their life, testify and use their experience to help others, and shape change at scale. Their stories demonstrate hope. The award is theirs,” said Tariqul Islam
The other five heroes recognised this year are – Major Mohammad Al-Khlaifat of Jordan, Judge Cornelius Wennah of Liberia, Irena Dawid-Olczyk of Poland, Apinya Tajit of Thailand, and Kateryna Cherepakha of Ukraine.
Each year, since 2004, the US Department of State honours individuals around the world who have devoted their lives to the fight against human trafficking.