Child Trafficking in Bangladesh

The  UN Protocol to Prevent,  Suppress  and Punish Trafficking in  Persons defines trafficking as follows:  

“Trafficking in persons’ shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of  coercion,  of abduction, of fraud,  of deception, of  the  abuse of power  or  of a position  of vulnerability  or of  the  giving or  receiving  of payments  or benefits  to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of  exploitation.  Exploitation shall  include, at  a  minimum, the  exploitation  of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.” 

The US Government definition of trafficking in persons is as follows: 

“All  acts  involved  in  the  transport,  harboring,  or  sale  of  persons  within national  or  across  international  borders  through  coercion,  force,  kidnapping, deception or fraud, for purposes of placing persons in situations of forced labor or services,  such  as  forced  prostitution,  domestic  servitude,  debt  bondage  or  other slavery-like practices.”

The  United  Nations  (UN)  protocol  to  prevent,  suppress  and  punish trafficking  in  persons,  especially  women  and  children,  supplementing  the  UN Convention against Transportation Organized Crime, trafficking is defined as any activity leading  to recruitment,  transportation,  harboring  or receipt  of  persons, by means of threat or use of force or a position of vulnerability. Trafficking in people, especially women and children, for prostitution and forced labor is one of the fastest growing areas of international criminal activity and one that is of increasing concern to the US Administration, Congress, and the international community (Miko and Park 2002).   

When  the  methods  of trafficking  may  be such as coercion,  luring, duping, abducting,  kidnapping  etc.  then  these  happens  due  to  social  and  economical constraints  of  the  victims  which  make  them  vulnerable.  Human trafficking is considered as the third largest source of profit for organized crime, following arms and  drug  trafficking. Trafficking is performed for various purposes  such as labor, prostitution, organ transplant, drug couriers, arm smuggling etc.

The United Nation’s former definition of a ‘victim of trafficking’ perceived women  mostly  as  a  group  which  surfaces  as  a  variable  only  under  specific circumstances.  This  has  been  visibly  appropriate  in  the  adaptation  of  the  1949 Convention for the Suppression of Traffic in Persons and its further development is found  in 2000.  After much  debate, an  internationally  agreed  definition  of human trafficking now exists in Article 3 of the Palermo Protocol. 

This  definition  focuses  on  exploitation  of human  beings,  be  it  for  sexual exploitation, or other forms of forced labor, slavery, servitude, or for the removal of human  organs.  As  per  the  definition,  “trafficking  takes  place  by  criminal  means through the threat or use of  force, coercion, abduction, fraud, deception,  abuse of positions of power or vulnerability.

  Recently trafficking of human being increased alarmingly due to globalization and liberalization. People tend to migrate in search of better opportunities to make themselves  rich  and wealthy  which  is a  positive  trend the  people  for  developing countries.  But it  sometimes  creates problems  such  as smuggling  of people  across borders and unsafe migration by unscrupulous touts and agents. Increase trafficking also creates an  adverse  impact  on the problem of  human  immunodeficiency virus (HIV)  and  acquired  immune deficiency  syndrome  (AIDS).  The  girls migrated  for better ambition but at last they are sold in brothel by the traffickers and they have to confine for longtime in the brothel which sometimes cause HIV infection due to poor negotiation for safe sex methods. If a girl is HIV infected then she may be return to his own country and her country has to spend huge costs for health and rehabilitation sectors. The UN estimates that about 4 million people trafficking in a year are treated against their will to work in some form of slavery, many of them are children. It is roughly  estimated  that in  the last 30 years  trafficking  in  women  and children  for sexual exploitation in Asia alone has victimized more than 30 million people .

Due to absence of social protection, economic security and legal support, an

alarming  number  of  women  from  the  poor  families  become  easy  victims  of

trafficking.  As  trafficking  and  sexual  exploitation  is  a  crosscutting  issue  in  this subcontinent,  it  has  become  a  growing  concern  especially  across  borders.  The problem is more acute for a country like Bangladesh that shares a porous border with India. As there  is a heavy  demand  of  girls, traffickers takes trafficking as a highly profitable business. The organized gangs of traffickers often lure young women and girls  with  false  promises  of  better  jobs  or  false  proposals  of  love  and marriage. Bangladeshi and Nepalese women and girls are more innocent and attractive, so that they  become  the  first  target  of  traffickers.  Victims  of  trafficking  are  generally trafficked for forced prostitution, for purposes of organ transplants and slave labor. Accurate statistical data about the number of women trafficked from Bangladesh to serve the sex trade in neighboring countries is absent. 


The  trafficked  victims  end  up  in  brothels  where  they  are  sold  for  sexual exploitation or serve as street sex workers in India, Pakistan and  the Middle East. Although the  government  has  enacted  stringent  laws  and  implemented  various policies to combat this menace, trafficking continues to be a significant problem in Bangladesh.

In Bangladesh trafficking becomes an importance issue regionally,

Nationally and  internationally.  There is  well organized  channel  of  trafficking  in  women  and children constituted by the traffickers of Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Middle East. Bangladesh is a poor developing country in the world, the  density of population is very high, most of the populations are illiterate, natural disaster is recurrent, gender inequality prevails  in  every society, erosion  of river  bank due  to  over flood make shelter  less    women  and  girls.  The  traditional  social  structure,  economic  system, cultural condition and geographical setting of Bangladesh are vulnerable. As a result Bangladeshi  children  become  easy  victim  of  human  traffickers.  Easily  crossable boarder with India which extends over 4,222 km is one of the contributing factors for trafficking in women and children to India. The women are generally instructed to wear a  particular band or amulet on their  arms for easy identification at the transit points and  destinations.  At the border, the  women  and girls  are kept in particular houses for prearranged fees and then simply walk across fields adjunct to the border at a convenient time. Due to monetary gain and individual sexual favors, a number of dishonest border police in Bangladesh assist in carrying trafficked women across the national border (Momen 1998). Western border districts of  Bangladesh,  particularly  Jessore  and  Khulna  are  widely  used  by  traffickers  for trafficking  purposes. 


About  40,000  to  50,000  young  women  and  children  are  being  victim  of trafficking every month from Bangladesh. About 600,000 women  and children per year are being victims of trafficking to India, Pakistan, Middle East, Africa

Europe and the USA in search of work and  they become vulnerable to exploitation and unprotected law due to their illegal status. Many of them are forced to  work  for extremely low  wages,  while  other  auctioned for sex work  to develop tourism or forced marriage, which is often a form of slavery. The traffickers lure the poor families of the rural area of Bangladesh with the false promise of employment,marriage without dowry and better quality of life. The traffickers use the technique of illegal border crossing. The trafficking women and children are compelled to involve in sex-trade  with  the  probability  of  HIV/AIDS infection, domestic work, harmful industrial  work, debt  bondage  labor,  forced  marriage,  forced  begging,  camel jockeying,  adoption  trade  and  sometimes  trafficked  victims  are  killed for  organ harvesting.


Bangladeshi  police  estimated  that  there  are  between  15,000  and  20,000 children engaged in street prostitution. About 10,000 girls are active in prostitution inside the country. Over the last decade, 200,000 Bangladeshi girls were lured under false circumstances and sold into the sex industry in nations including Pakistan, India and  the  Middle  East.  About  40,000  children  from  Bangladesh  are  involved  in prostitution in Pakistan. Bangladeshi girls are also trafficked to India for commercial sex trade. About 10,000 Bangladeshi children are in brothels in Bombay and Goa of India (Mohajan 2012a).