Trafficking is a serious violation of human rights and therefore human trafficking is a major concern in the world. It is an activity whose main purpose is to effect exploitation, including slavery, and that which has faced a lot of criticism due to the evils that are associated with it. Just like any harmful activity, however, human trafficking continues to be carried out despite the criticism directed towards it. There are numerous countries that are faced with this activity most of them being the poor, third world countries. Countries such as Bangladesh, Haiti, Brazil, Pakistan, China, and India have been named as countries that suffer most because of this vice (Mammadova, 2011). These countries act as sources from where the slaves are gotten and also as transit routes for the slaves. The countries provide ample market for the slaves thus ensuring that the slave is fuelled and kept alive. There have been numerous attempts by different countries and international organizations such as the United Nations to put an end to this vice and while these have been mostly successful, a lot more needs to be done to ensure that this problem is at least if not completely solved (Kirkham, George&Territo, 2010).
The history of human trafficking cannot be really traced; it is an activity that is believed to have existed since time immemorial. From the 1400 century, however, human trafficking activities became more apparent because more people became aware of these activities (Kirkham, George&Territo, 2010). Then, it was done as a form of slave trade and was accepted by a majority of people. There was a wide belief that the people that were being trafficked were less human than the rest and as such it was seen as morally upright to own and take part in slave trade. This continued till about the nineteenth century where people came out strongly to point out the evils that are caused as a result of slave trade and as such the trade was abolished (Kirkham, George&Territo, 2010). This however did not mark the end of human trafficking, and it only served to reduce an activity that was rampant and to change it from a publicly carried out vice to a privately carried out one.
Bangladesh tops the charts when it comes to countries that are most affected by human trafficking. Among the uses of Bangladesh in this trade is that it is a major transit route for the trafficked humans. Bangladesh is a source of the trade goods, the human beings; it also provides a market for the trafficked human beings. Human trafficking in Bangladesh targets everyone, younger children and especially girls, are, however, more susceptible to human trafficking. People who fall victims to these illicit activities are taken to different places and forced into doing different duties. Most of the men trafficked are forced into labor, organ donation or even to join the army (Aronowitz, 2009). The women and children trafficked are mostly forced to sex slave, for this they get minimal or no pay. Some are also forced into organ donation such as selling their ova, or into domestic labor. The people who are trafficked are taken to countries in which human trafficking takes place, these include India and China where they are sold to cartels dealing in the trade or are transported to other countries to be sold into slavery. In Bangladesh, trafficking is made possible due to the high poverty levels. The people there are at times willing to move to other countries after they have been promised better jobs and bigger salaries. Their fate changes, however, once they reach the recipient country. Trafficking in Bangladesh mostly occurs due to the ready market in India and also because India offers a transit route. The reason why this has gone for a long time is because of the presence of enclaves, created during the partitioning of Bangladesh and India. There are up to one hundred and one enclaves in India and fifty-one in Bangladesh. These make it easy for the trade to occur because the enclaves are used as the human trafficking centers in accordance with the research that was done by the Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) (Esther, 2010).
The most common recipient countries, apart from India include Qatar, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Malaysia Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, among many other countries. While there have been cases where people are actually kidnapped and forced into travelling to the countries of their destinations, staying and working in the country, most cases of human trafficking in Bangladesh occur as a result of coercion. A majority of people in the poor third world country would do anything to get better jobs, food, and a better life. When promised all the above, therefore, they do not think twice about parking up and leaving for the country of ‘milk and honey’ at the first chance they get. Once they land in the country, their dreams are shattered. The cartels take away their passports to ensure that they are unable to leave their home country. They are then sold off into slavery, i.e., sex trade or domestic slavery or forced to donate their organs before being left to pain and misery and to look for a way of survival in a new country. The pain and misery that these unfortunate people go through is indescribable.
There have been concerns that the standard minimum rules to set by the United Nations organizations responsible for dealing with human trafficking, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, have not been met in Bangladesh (Esther, 2010). It is also reported however, that Bangladesh is among the countries in Asia that have tried very hard to deal with and to eradicate human trafficking, being a third world country, however, it finds difficulty in implementing all the rules set by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. There are numerous laws in Bangladesh that are geared towards dealing with the issue of human trafficking and sex slavery with these laws in Bangladesh being aimed at ensuring that human trafficking is completely eradicated by having being in force since 1933. The most effective laws in the country include the law, enacted in the year 2000, that led to the setting up of the Police Monitoring Cell for Combating Trafficking in Women and Children in the Bangladesh Police Headquarters (Esther, 2010); the police anti-trafficking investigative unit has also been created to ensure that human trafficking in the country is eradicated. To ensure that these bodies diligently perform their tasks, there was created the Inter- Ministerial Committee on human trafficking. This committee is chaired by the Home Minister. Non- Governmental Organizations have also been set up to help in dealing with this vice. These organizations offer services that are considered to be too expensive for the government to offer, and that are required if there is to return normalcy to society (Esther, 2010). The services offered by the NGO’s include, counseling services and offering homes for the victims. These services are crucial because the victims of human trafficking, especially the younger ones go through a traumatizing experience and as such they need help if they are to get back their lives and normally live.
Medical practitioners especially those in an emergency department setting provide the base for a defense to victims of human trafficking. These victims are checked in into the department to receive quality medical attention. However, there is lack of assistance in terms of helping them depart from places with rampant case situations of human trafficking, where there is incredibly high risk to their lives. This is the case where in most occurrences, these medical practitioners often fail to recognize signs of human trafficking and mistake the signs for intimate partner violence. Among the many laws that Bangladesh has come up with to enable the country get rid of the problem of human trafficking is the constitution. The constitution of Bangladesh expressly denounces activities that lead to and that are involved in human trafficking, it also ensures the citizens of the country the protection by the state whether the person is in Bangladesh or not. Apart from providing for human rights and freedoms, the Constitution, at Article 34(1) prohibits all types of forced labor. In Article 18 (2), the Constitution gives the government the duty of eradication prostitution. Another law in the country that takes to heart prevention of trafficking especially of women and children is the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act. This is a law that was passed in the year 2000. The Act mainly shifts its focus on human trafficking for sex trade purposes and sets out the differences between commercial sex and sex exploitation. According the Act, sex exploitation occurs when a person is forced into sexual activities and is made to get into sex slave because the person has no other option. The country has also set out severe punishment for persons engaging in human trafficking whereby among these is the death penalty or a sentence to life imprisonment.
Despite the laws set by the country to prevent human trafficking and the stiff penalties, this activity still takes place as an organized crime. As a result, it has led to many disadvantages for the country. For instance, the citizens are not sufficiently well protected even though there is the availability of a well-constructed constitution that tends to insinuate as to the citizen’s protection. There are also fewer tourism activities in the country due to fear. The country’s economy goes down the drain every day because of human trafficking; the people who would be useful in the growth of its economy are trafficked. A lot of money and man power is also spent in trying to stop the vice. It is, therefore, important for the country to deal with the issue of human trafficking and to completely eradicate it if it is to grow both socially, politically and economically.
Esther, S. (2010). Responses to Human Trafficking in Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Legal and Policy Review, 10-19.
L, T. a. (2010). International Sex Trafficking of Women and Children: Understanding teh Global Epidemic. Flushins, New York: Looseleaf Law Publications.
Territo, L., & Kirkham, G. (2010). International sex trafficking of women & children: Understanding the global epidemic. Flushing, NY: Looseleaf Law Publications.
Aronowitz, A. A. (2009). Human trafficking, human misery: The global trade in human beings, Westport, Connecticut: Praeger.