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).