Human trafficking has been described as the cross-border global trading of people. Human trafficking is often regarded as a modern day’s slavery, one of the most unimaginable heinous crimes. This vicious crime robs its victims, including mostly women, children, and their basic human rights. Human trafficking is a complex issue with a diverse range of victims and circumstances. We have seen this terrifying reality from the half-melted death body in the foreign land which reminds us like a heart-breaking picture of 1971. How ill-fated the people have been suffering from this incident. Among the living persons, every bone can be identified. The people of an independent country ought not to be as such a terrific incident. The present circumstances defeat all the slavery systems in the recent past. Ways and means of resolving the problem of human trafficking firstly, we have to know the deepest reason of it. Human trafficking is an acute problem of Bangladesh where Rohingya issue is refueling in it. According to UNHCR, 25,000 migrants have been trafficked to Malaysia by the sea-route in the first few months of 2015. More than 7,000 of them are Bangladeshis and rests of them are mostly Rohingyas. In fact, the Rohingyas have nothing to lose but life. So, they are leaving their homeland for the betterment of life. They are in search of finding a dreamland where a mother can never be raped and a father can never be tortured, where there will be a secured life.
We are concerned about why a few Bangladeshis have been floating around. The causes and effects have logically been found to be interlinked. There are no easy solutions which are readily available. The answer may not be as easy as may be thought. The reason behind it lies in the deepest circumstances.
Bangladesh is now in a transformative phase. The technical change has given it more speed. Everything changes overnight. Lack of adequate employment opportunity drives our people to go to the foreign lands. People living in the relatively less well-to-do countries would like have a decent life to lead. Without accessible adequate legal channels, many simple-minded people are enticed by the fake promises and by taking deceptive journeys. In search of their mission, people are getting stranded in the seas, or trapped in the slave-camps.
Prior to government to government contact (G2G), a huge number of people left the country in quest of livelihood. But the contact has failed to successfully send the people to their destination of Malaysia. Rather it is gradually contracting their scope to go to Malaysia legally by the private recruiting agencies.
Malaysia has been considered as a middle income country which has been in process of getting developed at a relatively fast rate. But it didn’t have enough people to cope with its recent development process. The Malaysian would like to hire foreigners or immigrants from the neighboring countries, including Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, China, and Philippines at a relatively cheap rate.
In short, the development phase of Malaysia is in the process of welcoming more people from the neighboring countries. It is very important to note that all the developing countries mentioned above in Asia have been having a crying need of more people to get employed in their development process. It is not very easy for the willing workers as well as immigrants to easily migrate from their neighboring countries as mentioned above to Malaysia.
For the immigrants to Malaysia, it is relatively cheap for them to process their immigration through an illegal route in terms of time and cost. It is also beneficial to Malaysia to cheaply hire people from the neighboring countries than a legal route. If the Malaysian has to receive such a labor illegally, they never have to follow the labor rule. They can pay the minimum wages. Even they can abuse the labor as like as those of slavery. As laborers are illegal, they have no legal rights to fight against the oppression. Thus, we can say that the illegal transit is beneficial both the immigrants and emigrants point of view. Therefore, it has become very difficult to control the illegal migration from neighboring countries to Malaysia. Rather there is a gambling of immense profit in the host country of Malaysia and in the strong brokers’ net.
The governments including Bangladesh hinder the anti-trafficking process. Among of these less than officials’ involvement in facilitation, lack of a comprehensive monitoring system, lack of understanding among the local officials, disincentives for victims to be identified, week boarder supervision, and strong brokers’ net are the main .
A ‘Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean’ in Bangkok was a great initiative to resolve the problem. In fact, Thailand is a transit country for human trafficking among others countries. Many officials and local people get themselves involved in the inhuman works directly. It requires a regional cooperation to resolve the problem. We should pay attention to the multiple and complex concerns how they are addressed in the debate about human trafficking. Responsibility framing is used to identify the actors for creating or maintaining problems, like criminal networks and officials who allow violations to continue or even add to them. Thus, it should be done in a unique regional framework –
Investigation, prosecution and conviction for the trafficking offenders. Investigation, prosecution and conviction of the officials engaged in trafficking related corruption.
Be ensuring that offenders of fraudulent labor recruitment and of forced labor receive stringent criminal penalties.
Provide legal option to the removal of trafficking victims to the countries in which they would face retribution.
Cooperation between States and Parties in order to combat the cross border trafficking
The Constitutions of Bangladesh, Article 34 (1), prohibits forced labor as a basic human right. The government should ensure the constitutional rights and identify the victims of trafficking among the vulnerable population. Full-implementation of the Human Trafficking Act 2012 and National Action Plan on Trafficking need to be ensured. The government should investigate, prosecute and convict the trafficking offenders, including officials and local brokers. By enlarging the scope for the private recruiting agencies, the government can take initiative to reduce bureaucratic barriers and legal costs. The government may also find out new labor market around the world and enhance in procedure to legalize migrant workers for reducing the vulnerability of migrants to human trafficking. However, the government should increase awareness among the people regarding anti-trafficking with the help of mass media as well as the local collaboration throughout the country.
(Prof. M. Azizur Rahman Ph.D is Vice-Chancellor, Uttara University.)