Experts on Monday stressed the need for vigilance at family, school and social levels for prevention of human trafficking in general, girl trafficking in particular, as criminals now often used social media to allure the victims.
Establishment of separate special tribunal was also important for prevention of human trafficking with speedy prosecution of trafficking cases for ensuring punishment of the criminals, they said at a discussion in the capital.
Traffickers ‘now use social media’ befriending easy targets such as children and women through facebook, twitter, instragram, snapchat, among others, professor Ishrat Shamim of sociology department of Dhaka University said at the programme to mark World Day against Trafficking-in-Persons.
So-called ‘love marriages’ initiated through social media and others also led to an increase in eloping and exposing children to early marriage, trafficking and sexual exploitation, she said at the programme on emerging challenges of trafficking in persons organised by Centre for Women and Children Studies.
In Bangladesh, she said about 70 per cent adolescents of 11-18 years of age ‘do not know’ who to approach for guidance and help when they experience problems online.
Persons involved in trafficking usually first approach girls through friends, relatives and acquaintances often from the same place for generating trust to carry out the crime by alluring the victim with offer of love, marriage and job, Shamim, also CWCS, president said.
The victims ‘are trafficked’ within countries, between neighbouring countries and even across different continents as cross-border trafficking ‘flows often resemble’ regular migration flows, she said.
Putting emphasis on vigilance within families and gaining social support for prevention of human trafficking, she said, informing that a train passenger’s tweet in India helped railway police to save 26 girls, between 10-14 years, from child traffickers and arrest of two men involved in the crime, she added.
Professor Mahbuba Nasreen of Dhaka University presided over the discussion where education ministry additional secretary Jabed Ahmed, joint secretary Rukhsana Hasin, among others, also spoke.
Speaking at a separate discussion, National Human Rights Commission, Bangladesh chairman Kazi Reazul Hoque said separate special tribunal should be established with high priority for prosecution under the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act, 2012, according to a press release.
Winrock International organised the event in collaboration with 17 local and foreign organisations at National Press Club.
According to Bangladesh Police Headquarters, a total of 4,152 cases were filed since the enactment of The Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act 2012. During 2017, 778 human trafficking cases were filed with only one successful conviction. During the first 6 months of 2018, 267 cases were filed with four successful convictions already.
Abul Kalam Azad, an additional superintendent of Bangladesh Police, claimed that police often received complaints of trafficking through relatives so late that the perpetrators by the time ran away, leaving the investigation difficulties.
The speakers alleged that perpetrators escaped justice in many cases for lengthy and slow justice process, withdrawal of many cases out of the court while in many incidents a case was not even filed to begin the procedure.
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