Bangladesh: UNODC steps up efforts supporting the Government to address Human Trafficking

Dhaka, Bangladesh/29 February 2024: Last week marked the culmination of a series of workshops carried-out over three days (27- 29 February 2024), that brought together judges and public prosecutors from the seven Divisions of Bangladesh including the most trafficking prone districts of the country.

The workshops focused on seeking an exchange of experiences, addressing common challenges and providing input from the learned participants on the Bench Book on Effective Adjudication of Human Trafficking Cases Using a Victim-centered Approach, jointly developed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The Bench Book is developed as part of the technical guidelines on the interpretation and full implementation of the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act (PSHTA) enacted in 2012; a landmark in Government of Bangladesh’s commitment to combatting human trafficking in the country. This is a timely and critical initiative supported jointly under the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants – Bangladesh (GLO.ACT – Bangladesh) project funded by the European Union and implemented by UNODC, and the Comprehensive Counter Trafficking Program to Address Human Trafficking in Bangladesh funded by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) implemented by IOM.

Speaking at the closing event, Chief Guest Md. Golam Sarwar, Secretary of Law and Justice Division, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs stated that “the judiciary is a key player when it comes to the interpretation of the legislation ensuring victim friendly trial procedures and speedy disposal of human trafficking cases. Therefore, this Bench Book aims to serve as a legal resource guide on the adjudication of human trafficking cases in Bangladesh”.

AKM Tipu Sultan, Additional Secretary, Public Security Division, Ministry of Home Affairs, and Chair at today’s event, applauded the organizers and noted that “the Bench Book marks a significant milestone in our journey towards achieving the shared goal of eradicating human trafficking. It is imperative that we continue to build upon the knowledge and insights gained through this endeavour”.

F. Nusrath Ghazzali, Officer in Charge, IOM, reiterated that, “IOM has always stood steadfast to support the government’s commitment to combat human trafficking, the Bench Book being one of several efforts towards this objective. Similar tools such as the manuals for law enforcement agencies and the Counter Trafficking Committees, are being finalized with the active participation of relevant government stakeholders”.

"The Bench Book is one of our strongest tools that we have developed - we at UNODC are truly proud to have the opportunity to support you in your important work in combatting trafficking." remarked Jee Aei Lee, Legal and Policy Officer, UNODC.

“The development and implementation of the Bench Book represents a critical step in equipping the judiciary with the necessary tools and knowledge to effectively adjudicate human trafficking cases, ensuring the rights of victims” commented Hyunwoo Yang, Deputy Country Director, KOICA at the closing of the workshop.

The Bench Book on Effective Adjudication of Human Trafficking Cases Using a Victim-centered Approach will reflect the suggestions discussed by the 49 (11 female, 38 male) judges and prosecutors during the workshop, and the Bench Book will be submitted to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs for finalization and dissemination amongst the relevant judges and public prosecutors.

The activity contributed to SDG 5, SDG 8, SDG 16 and SDG 17: 

(Supported by European Union)