Bangladesh: World Day against Trafficking in Persons 2022 observed through the National Consultation on Combating Human Trafficking in the Context of Use of Technology and its Abuse

Dhaka, Bangladesh/30 July 2022:  The scourge of human trafficking has expanded into cyber space as a result of the expansion of technology use around the world, which in turn has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the transition of our daily lives to online platforms. It is imperative that efforts to combat human trafficking are coordinated both online and offline. 

The theme of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons 2022 is “Use and Abuse of Technology,” and focuses on the role of technology as a tool that can both enable and combat human trafficking.

To mark the day, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA)  with technical and financial support from the Counter Trafficking in Persons Technical Working Group (CTIP-TWG) of the Bangladesh UN Network on Migration (BDUNNM) organized the National Consultation on "Combating Human Trafficking in the Context of Use of Technology and its Abuse". The consultation explored recent human trafficking trends in the context of COVID-19 and its aftermath and the trafficking in persons in cyberspace.

Participants at the consultation called on the Government of Bangladesh (GoB), international partners, the private sector, and civil society actors to focus their efforts on advancing a robust, rights-based approach aimed at preventing the exploitation of individuals by trafficking networks and shrinking the space in which they operate.

Asaduzzaman Khan, M.P., Minister of Home Affairs, said “Trafficking in persons is a serious human rights violation and the Government has a zero-tolerance policy on this. We are actively taking steps to fight this horrific crime. The fight against trafficking requires multi-stakeholder engagement.” “We will continue to work tirelessly to increase awareness around human trafficking utilizing the digital space,” he added.

Addressing the event as special guest, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said the government will continue its relentless efforts to curb the crime as per international commitments and national policies. "[Bangladesh] is making every effort to make the best use of technology in this endeavour. But we also need our partners to be more humane in dealing with the victims," he added. He added that authorities are using information and communication technology to effectively combat the crime through four domains: awareness building, reporting, rescue, and prosecution of traffickers.

According to Md. Akhter Hossain, Senior Secretary, Public Security Division, Ministry of Home Affairs, “Victims of trafficking experience physical & mental violence levels, harassment, forced labour, forced & illegitimate marriages, death, and they are often used in drugs and goods trafficking rings. The government has taken strong steps to combat human trafficking at all levels.”

Dr. Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, Secretary, Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, noted, “The Government of Bangladesh has sufficient law and policies to combat human trafficking. In addition, the Global Compact on Migration commits to eradicating trafficking in persons. We now need to ensure comprehensive efforts at national, regional, and global levels to implement these laws effectively and end this heinous crime.”

Technology allows criminals to operate across jurisdictions and more easily evade detection. Digital platforms offer traffickers tools to recruit, exploit, and control victims; organize their transport and accommodation; advertise victims and reach out to potential clients; communicate among perpetrators and hide criminal proceeds – and all that with great speed, cost-effectiveness, and anonymity.

Gwyn Lewis, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh, noted, “Technology also presents a lot of potential as a tool to combat trafficking. The ability of law enforcement and the criminal justice system to use technology in their responses to trafficking will be crucial to the future success of efforts to eradicate human trafficking.”

Of the almost one million Bangladeshis migrating abroad every year, many vulnerable migrants are targeted by traffickers, and some are subject to debt bondage, forced labour, sexual exploitation, forced marriages and other forms of modern slavery.

The event of attended by key members of the diplomatic community in Bangladesh. Remarks were made by H.E. Robert Chatterton Dickson, the British High Commissioner to Bangladesh; H.E Ms. Nathalie Chuard, Ambassador of Switzerland to Bangladesh; H.E. Mr. Jeremy Opritesco, Charge d’Affaires  of the Delegation of the European Union; and H.E. Mr. Scott Brandon, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission, US Embassy in Bangladesh.

This national consultation was organized and led by the Public Security Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs with technical support from the Counter Trafficking in Persons Technical Working Group (CTIP-TWG) of the Bangladesh United Nations Network on Migration and with financial support from the following projects and organizations from CTIP-TWG: a. "Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants-Bangladesh (GLO.ACT-Bangladesh)" project funded by the EU and jointly implemented by UNODC and IOM, b. "A Comprehensive Counter Trafficking Program to Address Human Trafficking in Bangladesh" project implemented by IOM and funded by KOICA, c. SDC funded ILO Migration project; d. USAID-funded FS/TIP Project; and e. BRAC.


This activity contributes to SDG 5 and SDG 16:

(Supported by BRAC, European Union, Government of Switzerland, KOICA and USAID)