GLO.ACT-Bangladesh organizes workshop for judges from Anti-Human Trafficking tribunals

Dhaka, Bangladesh 13 May 2022 - UNODC, in partnership with the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs (MoLJPA) of Bangladesh, under the framework of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants - Bangladesh (GLO.ACT-Bangladesh), organized a three-day capacity building workshop with 22 judges (4 female, 18 male) of the Anti-Human Trafficking Offence tribunals held from 13 to 15 March 2022. The workshop aimed to ensure a holistic engagement with the judiciary of Bangladesh for a strengthened national response to human trafficking and migrant smuggling. The workshop engaged judges due to their central role in adjudicating cases.

The inauguration ceremony of the workshop was opened by Samantha Munodawafa, UNODC GLO.ACT Policy Lead, who welcomed all guests and participants. She highlighted the enthusiasm of all the workshop facilitators, including visiting Judge Michelle Brewer and Judge Hina Rai from the First-tier Tribunal, Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the United Kingdom. Ms. Munodawafa underlined how their willingness to share their experience with the judges is a key element in combatting Trafficking in Persons (TIP).

Maurizio Cian, Head of Cooperation of the Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh, stated, “Bangladesh and the EU are working together in the fight against trafficking in human beings. Trafficking in human beings is a terrible crime affecting disproportionally women and girls trafficked for sexual exploitation. I commend the Government of Bangladesh’s for its continuous effort and engagement leading to the substantial progress made in the recent years in tackling trafficking through the criminal justice system”.

Md. Golam Sarwar, Secretary, Law and Justice Division of the Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs (MoLJPA) underlined that, “Despite the pandemic, tribunals have disposed of a significant number of cases. In future, we hope to increase the number of tribunals to ensure speedy and effective adjudication of human trafficking cases across the country.”

Giving the address of the Chief Guest, Anisul Huq, M.P, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs took the opportunity to highlight the devastating effect of human trafficking saying, “Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants are global challenges demanding a unified response and strong partnerships amongst all sectors. Human trafficking and the migrant smuggling cannot be solved by a single entity; rather it demands a cumulative effort from all sectors in Bangladesh. We believe that more holistic approaches are needed to strengthen legal measures and prosecution, ensure improved protection for those at risk, and, in the longer term, close the space open to human trafficking.”

Mahdy Hassan, GLO.ACT-Bangladesh National Project Coordinator concluded the opening ceremony by providing an overview of the GLO.ACT-Bangladesh project.

The workshop consisted of sessions covering numerous topics:

  • An introduction to the history of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its Protocols thereto. This session included an overview of case studies, the differences between TIP and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) and an assessment of national legislation and international frameworks.
  • Key aspects of the domestic legal framework on TIP, followed by an interactive dialogue with the judges on the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act, 2012 (PSHTA 2012).
  • The nuance of control and exploitation, the non-punishment of victims of TIP and special measures in courts for vulnerable witness and victims.
  • The challenges arising from TIP through macro evidential challenges of TIP cases, underlining strategies to identify traffickers, maintaining consistency through corroborative evidence and measures that can be undertaken by judges while ensuring their judicial role.
  • Identifying existing measures to ensure a victim friendly environment along with sentencing considerations for TIP in Bangladesh, suggestions for the bench book on TIP and other reference materials for the adjudication and international cooperation in TIP cases.
  • Modalities for international cooperation in TIP cases for Bangladesh, emphasizing the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, 2012.

During the closing ceremony, M.A. Awal, Judge of Anti-Human Trafficking Offence Tribunal, Khulna reflected, “The in-depth discussion on the national and international legal provisions on TIP was insightful. I would like to thank all the facilitators and UNODC for organizing sessions on important aspects of law”

The chair of the closing ceremony Md. Golam Sarwar then emphasized the role of the 7 Anti-Human Trafficking tribunals that have been established by the Government of Bangladesh and commended organizers and participants for a vibrant session.

Justice Hasan Foez Siddique, Honorable Chief Justice of Bangladesh emphasized the importance of international judicial cooperation and collective responsibilities in combatting human trafficking during his closing remarks.

 

The Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants - Bangladesh (GLO.ACT - Bangladesh) is a joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). GLO.ACT-Bangladesh builds on a global community of practice set in motion in GLO.ACT 2015-2019 in 13 partner countries across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.  

Through targeted, innovative and demand-driven interventions, the GLO.ACT aims to support the Government of Bangladesh and civil society organizations to more effectively fight the crimes of human trafficking and migrant smuggling across the country. The project works on developing evidence-based information on trafficking and smuggling patterns and trends, legislative review and harmonization, capability development of criminal justice actors, and international cooperation. The project also provides direct assistance to victims of human trafficking and migrants in vulnerable situations through the strengthening of identification, referral, and protection mechanisms. The project is fully committed to mainstreaming Human Rights and Gender Equality considerations across all of its activities. 

The project is funded by the European Union. 

For more information, please contact: 

Mahdy Hassan: muhammad.hassan@un.org 

unodc-glo.act@un.org 

GLO.ACT Bangladesh 

Twitter: @glo_act