Last Updated: Friday, 27 November 2015, 12:04 GMT

U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Bangladesh

Publisher United States Department of State
Author Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Publication Date 11 June 2003
Cite as United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Bangladesh, 11 June 2003, available at: [accessed 28 November 2015]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Bangladesh (Tier 2)

Bangladesh is a country of origin and transit for women and children trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and bonded labor. Women and girls are trafficked to India, Pakistan, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates for commercial sexual exploitation and domestic work. A small number of women and girls are transited through Bangladesh from Burma to India. Boys are also trafficked to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar and forced to work as camel jockeys and beggars. Internal trafficking of women and children from rural areas to the larger cities for commercial sexual exploitation and domestic work also occurs.

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 despite severe resource constraints. Bangladesh needs to curb corruption among law enforcement officials, better monitor its borders, increase prosecutions of traffickers, and invest in more protection programs such as increasing the shelter capacity for victims.


Under its National Plan of Action, which is a comprehensive plan to combat child sexual exploitation, the government supported awareness raising and community mobilization efforts in educating the community about trafficking. Other activities include police sensitization efforts, working with school populations to educate them about the problem, and improving laws. Government officials actively participated in donor-funded workshops, meetings and public awareness campaigns.

The public awareness campaigns focused on showing the most vulnerable populations the harmful affects of trafficking and how the community can help in the reintegration and acceptance of victims. These campaigns were made through the radio, printed material, and speeches. The Ministry of Women's and Children's Affairs, the Ministry of Information, NGOs, and international organizations sponsored a month-long "Road March and Campaign Against Human Trafficking, Violence Against Women and Acid Throwing," making stops in 18 districts, educating the community about various forms of abuse against women including trafficking. The government supports "food for education" programs to encourage parents to send their children to school and provides stipends to girls attending secondary schools in rural areas. The government has initiated an anti-exploitation public information campaign for citizens going abroad to work.


The country prohibits various forms of trafficking. The government does investigate trafficking cases; however, the court system is backlogged by approximately one million cases, severely hampering the ability to bring criminal cases to closure quickly. The government has arrested and prosecuted some traffickers, and courts have handed down tough sentences. During the year, the government arrested 60 alleged traffickers and convicted 30, an increase from four last year. For those convicted, the sentences ranged from 20 years to life. Police and government officials received specialized training from international organizations and NGOs in investigating and prosecuting trafficking cases. The anti-trafficking program office under the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, established in 2000, has developed relationships with both donors and NGOs and has helped in the prosecution of cases over the past year. However, corruption is widespread at lower levels of the government; police, customs, immigration officials and border guards reportedly are susceptible to bribery. If caught, prosecuted and convicted, corrupt officials may receive a reprimand, but their employment is rarely terminated.


Victims are not detained, jailed, or prosecuted for violations of immigration or prostitution laws. The government works closely with and refers victims to NGOs that provide shelter and access to legal, medical and psychological services. The government provided specialized training to its officials in assisting victims but has yet to provide training on protection and assistance to its embassies and consulates in foreign countries that are destination or transit countries for its citizens.

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