U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Bangladesh
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||12 June 2007|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Bangladesh, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be39ec.html [accessed 26 May 2015]|
Bangladesh (Tier 2)
Bangladesh is a source and transit country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude. It is also a source country for children – both girls and boys – trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation, bonded labor, and other forms of involuntary servitude. Women and children from Bangladesh are trafficked to India and Pakistan for sexual exploitation. Bangladeshi women also migrate legally to the Gulf for work as domestic servants, but often find themselves in situations of involuntary servitude when faced with restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, and physical or sexual abuse. In addition, Bangladeshi men and women migrate to Malaysia, the Gulf, and Jordan to work in the construction or garment industry, but sometimes face conditions of involuntary servitude, including fraudulent recruitment offers; debt bondage may be facilitated by large pre-departure fees imposed by Bangladeshi recruitment agents. Internally, Bangladeshis are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and bonded labor. Some Burmese women who are trafficked to India transit through Bangladesh.
The Government of Bangladesh does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Bangladesh continued to raise awareness of trafficking and criminally prosecute and punish sex traffickers over the reporting period. The government also took steps to shut down labor recruitment agencies believed to be using deceptive recruiting practices and opened cases for forced child labor. Bangladesh did not, however, report any criminal convictions or prison sentences for acts of involuntary servitude. Bangladesh should prosecute labor trafficking offenses and seek the imposition of criminal penalties for deceptive recruitment practices that facilitate trafficking, and should increase efforts to combat internal trafficking for forced labor and sexual exploitation. Bangladesh should also provide more protection services for adult male trafficking victims and victims of labor forms of trafficking.
Bangladesh made some progress in prosecuting trafficking cases and began taking some action to address trafficking for involuntary servitude. The government prohibits the trafficking of women and children for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation or involuntary servitude under the Repression of Women and Children Act of 2000 (amended in 2003), and prohibits the selling and buying of a minor under age 18 for prostitution in Articles 372 and 373 of the penal code. Article 374 of Bangladesh's penal code prohibits involuntary servitude, but the prescribed penalties of imprisonment for up to one year or a fine are not sufficiently stringent to deter the offense. Bangladesh lacks laws criminalizing the trafficking of adult males for commercial sexual exploitation. In 2006, the government prosecuted 70 trafficking cases and obtained convictions for 43 individuals, with 4 receiving death sentences and 32 receiving life sentences. Bangladesh also arrested five immigration officers and one former police officer on suspicion of complicity in trafficking; their prosecutions are pending.
In 2006, the Ministry for Expatriate Welfare, the Bangladesh Agency for Manpower, Employment, and Training, and the main labor recruitment agency organization agreed to enforce caps on recruitment fees of approximately $1,200. Enforcement of this cap is difficult because of deceptive practices by some agencies, side-costs levied on workers illegally, and general corruption. The government also adopted an Expatriate Labor Policy identifying principles for the protection of migrant workers abroad and expressing commitment to taking legal actions against illegal recruiters. The government opened investigations against three Bangladeshi recruitment agencies allegedly using deceptive recruitment practices and raided five similar agencies in 2006, closing and de-licensing them. During the reporting period, one owner of a labor recruitment agency was arrested on allegations of overcharging recruitment fees. The government also reported filing 117 cases for forced child labor. Nonetheless, the government did not report any convictions of traffickers for involuntary servitude during the reporting period. Bangladesh should continue to prosecute and punish sex trafficking and should increase law enforcement efforts against labor forms of trafficking, including seeking criminal penalties against any convicted traffickers.
Bangladesh did not make discernible progress in protecting victims of trafficking this reporting period, but continued efforts from previous years. Police anti-trafficking units encourage victims to assist in the investigation of cases against their traffickers. Victims reportedly are not jailed or punished, but the government does not offer victims legal alternatives to their removal to countries where they may face hardship or retribution. The government supported crisis centers in hospitals that are open to trafficking victims, but relied on NGOs to provide medical and psychological care to victims. The government also provided a building to a local NGO for use as a shelter for at-risk children. Bangladesh developed a witness protection protocol permitting victims to submit testimony in writing or to testify in front of a judge only. Nonetheless, the government reported no efforts to protect adult male victims or victims of forced labor. Bangladesh should continue to support protection services for victims of sex trafficking, and should increase assistance to victims of involuntary servitude, including Bangladeshis repatriated after being trafficked abroad.
Bangladesh continued to make progress in its prevention efforts. A campaign of 650 television and radio public service announcements warned the public of the dangers of trafficking. The government continued to provide anti-trafficking information to micro-credit borrowers, reaching over 380,000 at-risk women. Bangladesh has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.