The traps of human trafficking are laid out around the globe. The traffickers target extremely poor people. It cannot be denied that the number of poor people has risen while many have lost their sources of income during the Covid-19 pandemic. The human traffickers use such opportunities. All of those who died or were rescued in the trawler capsize off the Teknaf coast on their way to Malaysia last week were Rohingyas.

But it is not only Rohingyas are trafficked from Bangladesh. The four traffickers, who were detained by RAB (Rapid Action Battalion), trafficked Bangladeshis before. The incidents of human trafficking is spiking as days are passing by.

The first national research on human trafficking, jointly conducted by UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime), European Union and the Bangladesh government, revealed that most of the victims of human trafficking are ultra-poor. The traffickers especially target people four districts of Rangpur region, and Bandarban, Kishoreganj, Magura and Jamalpur districts.

It needs a handsome amount of money to go abroad in a legal way but the traffickers trap the poor people saying they would be given jobs abroad without taking any money. Earlier, the UNODC report in 2020 said nearly 51 per cent people fell in the traps laid out by the traffickers due to necessity of livelihood.

Bangladeshis are trafficked mostly to various countries of East Africa, North America, Middle East and South Asia. The victims not only forced to live in unbearable conditions, many become hostages. The traffickers realise a huge amount of money from the relatives at home. They also force women to work as sex workers.

Besides identifying some causes and risks of human trafficking from Bangladesh, the report put forth a few recommendations, including setting up strong prevention system to curb the crime, ensuring legal safety of the victims, and composing a strategic paper to stop human trafficking and forced labour.

Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan, at the launch of the report, acknowledged human trafficking a big problem and laid stress on prevent the quarters active for human trafficking.

Issuing statements and conducting research is not enough to stop human trafficking. The government has to continue two-fold works to stop this. One, to boost up security along the border so that no incident of trafficking could take place; two, taking stern action against the people and organisations found to be involved with human trafficking. It is unfortunate that though there is a stern anti-trafficking law in Bangladesh, there is no proper implementation of this.

Basically, the law enforcement agencies are responsible to prevent human trafficking. The border guard members have to remain vigilant so that none can traffic anyone through air, water of roads. The implementation of law has to be ensured. At the same time, a social awareness has to be raised against human trafficking.

Sometimes it is seen that though the accused is arrested, they are not brought to book and punished. Human trafficking will continue if we can’t ensure punishment of the traffickers.