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Bangladesh in image crisis for human trafficking and irregular migration to Europe in sea routes

Trafficking godfathers must be caught: NHRC chair

Bangladesh is now among the top countries of origin for illegal immigrants in Europe. In the first six months of the current year (2017), 7,899 illegal Bangladeshi migrants entered Europe through the Mediterranean Sea route only, according to Frontex, an organisation of European Council working to coordinate between the border security forces of European Union member countries.

Speakers revealed this information at a consultation meeting today on Saturday (29 July 2017) at BRAC Centre Inn. Development organisation BRAC organised the event titled 'Situation analysis of illegal trafficking and irregular migration' on the occasion of World Day against Trafficking in Persons.

Kazi Reazul Hoque, chairman, National Human Rights Commission Bangladesh, was present at the programme as the chief guest.

Chaired and moderated by Asif Saleh, senior director, strategy, communication and empowerment, BRAC and BRAC International, the event was also attended, among others, by Jabed Ahmed, additional secretary, expatriates welfare and oversees employment ministry, C R Abrar, professor, International Relations, Dhaka University, also coordinator of Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU), and Shah Alam, Additional Deputy Inspector General of CID. Representatives of different development organisations, senior police officers and senior journalists were also present at the meeting.

Md Shariful Hasan, programme head, BRAC Migration Programme, presented the keynote article at the event. Analysing the situation from different angles he said that there is no definite statistics about the exact number of Bangladeshis currently staying illegally in Europe. However, a European Union delegation during their Dhaka visit in this April stated that around 80 thousand illegal Bangladeshi migrants are currently stating in Europe. The European Commission statistics office Eurostat states that in 2008-2015 period 93,435 Bangladeshis were staying illegally in the European countries. This number should cross 100 thousand if the account of the first six years of current year is added to 2008-2015 account.

NHRC chair Kazi Reazul Hoque at the programme said, 'It is true that we have an excellent law formulated in 2012. About the same time law was passed against money laundering. But certainly question is there about the extent of their proper implementation.'

'According to the police, only 30 convicts have been given life imprisonment so far out of 3500 human trafficking cases,' he further said, observing pointing out a number of weaknesses in the present manner of dealing with such cases. 'Many times the court does not have anything to do against the perpetrators because the police give flawed reports.' 'No matter how the incidents took place it is our responsibility to protect human rights,' the NHRC chair stressed, 'the state must take responsibility'. He suggested that the government may undertake making a shortlist of 25 top 'godfathers' to chase and nab them.

Professor C R Abrar said, 'We must keep in mind that the human traffickers in both country and abroad are a highly powerful coterie. We have to be have sufficient preparation to bring them to book.'

Expatriate welfare additional secretary Jabed Ahmed said, 'Reducing the cost of migration is still the biggest challenge. When someone migrates spending an excess amount of money, in the urge of recovering that expenses many times they become irregular.'

He stressed on strong coordination among the home ministry, foreign affairs ministry, commercial aviation and other relevant ministries to prevent human trafficking.

BRAC senior director Asif Saleh presented the recommendations of the consultation meeting, saying 'We should focus on four main issues to prevent human trafficking: Ensuring accountability of the law enforcement agencies, utrilising the mass media to raise mass awareness, ensuring follow-up of legal cases and ensuring strong coordinator among the relevant ministries.'

Expatriates welfare and oversees employment ministry's deputy chief K M Ali Reza, development practitioner Asif Munir, additional police super of anti-human trafficking cell of Bangladesh Police Masura Begum, and Rapid Action Battalion deputy director Abdullah Al Maruf also spoke among others.

Speakers also told the meeting that in the early July this year around 2,000 illegally travelling Bangladeshis have become stuck in Turkey en route to Europe. The scenario becomes even bleaker when the illegal travel to Malaysia and Thailand through dangerous sea routes and the mass graves recently discovered in those countries are considered. Malaysia has already started its operation against illegal immigrants, while Saudi Arabia is taking its preparation. According to the expatriates welfare and oversees employment ministry, around 800 thousand (8 lakh) Bangladeshi migrants returned for lacking legal documents.

The speakers further said Bangladesh's status in the annual report of the US foreign affairs ministry published this has gone one step down. In this report the relevant countries are divided in three tiers. In last five years Bangladesh was in Tier-2, while this year it has been positioned one step down to Tier-2-Watch List along with 45 other countries including Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Pakistan, Thailand and Hong Kong. This scenario is a really worrying one particularly at this juncture when Bangladesh is poised for upgrading itself to a middle-income country and aspires to establish a strong safe migration process.

Referring to International refugee Organisation, the speakers said in last ten years around 150 thousand Bangladeshis have been the victim of illegal trafficking through Bay of Bengal routes. Of then at least 1500 died in the sea. Of the over 200 dead bodies recovered from the mass graves of Malaysia and Thailand, many were of Bangladeshi citizens. According to the information from the Bangladesh foreign affairs ministry and International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the government returned 2,183 Bangladeshis, of whom 183 are children. According to the police headquarters, since the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act, 2012 was passed around 3500 cases were filed. But the victims complain that most of these cases are seriously delayed.

Country-Representative-of-BRAC-in-Liberia-receiving-the-medal-from-Her-Excellency-President-Sirleaf-frontCountry-Representative-of-BRAC-in-Liberia-receiving-the-medal-from-Her-Excellency-President-SirleafCountry Representative of BRAC in Liberia receiving the medal from Her Excellency President Sirleaf

BRAC in Liberia was honoured by the President of Liberia, Her Excellency Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, during the celebrations marking the 170th Anniversary of the independence of Liberia. The investiture ceremony took place on 25 July, 2017 at the C. Cecil Dennis, Jr. Auditorium in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia.

President Sirleaf, herself the Grand Master of the Order of Distinction of the Republic of Liberia, admitted BRAC into the Humane Order of Africa Redemption and conferred the Grade of “Knight Commander” in consideration of the contributions of BRAC to alleviate poverty in Liberia. Mainuddin Ahmed, the Country Representative of BRAC in Liberia, received the medal on behalf of BRAC.

The-Knight-Order-Certification-for-BRAC-in-LiberiaThe Knight Order Certification for BRAC in Liberia

The President recognised and publicly appreciated BRAC’s contributions to the socio-economic development of Liberia through multi-sectoral programmes which have spurred economic recovery and growth over the past ten years.

Sir-Fazle-Hasan-abed-Jim-Yong-Kim

Jim Kim

Dr Jim Kim and international development community hail BRAC as a global leader in ending extreme poverty


On Sunday, 23 July 2017, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, founder and chairperson, BRAC shared the stage with Dr Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group at the annual RESULTS International Conference held in Washington, DC.

At the plenary titled Going the Last Mile, Dr Joanne Carter, executive director of RESULTS and RESULTS Educational Fund, recognised Sir Fazle and Dr Kim as two global leaders and practical visionaries who did “what the world had said was too hard or even impossible”, played a critical role in fighting tuberculosis, and had what it will take to get to the last mile in ending extreme poverty.


Sir Fazle talked about the motivation behind BRAC’s globally successful graduation programme; reaching those trapped in ultra poverty.


Dr Kim emphasised the need for governments today to invest in their own people and move away from supply-driven investments to demand-driven investments.

Both Sir Abed and Dr Kim highlighted the role that women can play in fighting poverty, and the need to mobilise them as ‘agents of change’ for poverty alleviation.


In his closing remarks, Dr Kim expressed his concern of rising aspirations everywhere;

 “We are racing against time and the sense of urgency we have today is greater than it was ever before,” he said. “We have to get better at thinking about the foundations of human solidarity. We have to find a way forward. We have to commit and recommit to equality of opportunity,” he concluded.


Representatives from BRAC presented the details of their graduation programme in a separate panel with panellists from the University of New Hampshire, Uplift and the RESULTS Educational Fund. This session provided the opportunity to understand the various forms of social protection and livelihood programmes and the need to make such programmes more comprehensive, adaptive and scalable in order to reach the extreme poor and provide them with better support to help escape poverty sustainably.

 

He holds the number 37 position on Fortune’s List of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders and has won an incredible number of prestigious awards. He is the founder and chairperson of the world’s largest private development aid organisation, with 100,000 employees in 11 countries and a budget of one billion dollars. He is 81 years old, and his biography reads like an adventure novel. After 45 years, the ongoing success of his NGO called BRAC offers a convincing response to those cynics who declared development aid a thing of the past. His name is Sir Fazle Hasan Abed and De Dikke Blauwe spoke to this architect of poverty reduction during his visit to the Netherlands in mid-June. read more

According to the Pareto principle, 80% of the world’s wealth is in the hands of 20% of the people. Even if more resources are created, the distribution of the new wealth will follow the same rule. This rule does not only work in economics, but it also applies in science and sports for the prediction of results, read more

Sunday, 09 July 2017 00:00

The flock formula

It is difficult to monetise how livestock impacts a household’s income, but it certainly increases resilience in vulnerable households. Growing rice or vegetables, especially in time of unpredictable weather and natural disasters, is often a risky venture. However, livestock is easier to take care of. For example, sheep and goats are adaptable assets that are read more

Sunday, 09 July 2017 00:00

The mother of ducks

Every day, right before sunset, something wonderful happens in the village of Dhonokandi. As the western sky grows rosy pink, and the paddy fields on the east turn deep green, hundreds of brown little dots are suddenly seen scrambling in the horizon. Within minutes, a flock of quacking ducks approach the main road, and amongst read more

Sunday, 09 July 2017 00:00

Our cities. Our solutions.

Can you solve a wicked problem affecting thousands of people living in slums while sipping coffee in an air-conditioned room? In our 45 years of experience in Bangladesh and across eleven countries in Asia and Africa, the answer is mostly no. The ideas that work come from a little closer to the problem. Solutions that read more

The market for microinsurance in Bangladesh has been growing rapidly over the last 10 years, with over 25 million subscribers. Yet it is still met with skepticism among many poor microfinance clients. As of this January, BRAC, in partnership with Guardian Life Insurance Company, joined the market making its credit shield insurance product available nationwide read more

This article was published in the Daily Observer, Liberia on 1 June 2017

BRAC Liberia recently concluded a two-day nutrition training for twenty (20) leaders in the health and agriculture sectors of six counties, including Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Margibi, Bong, Bomi, and Cape Mount.

The training was held in Kingsville, Careysburg district, Montserrado County.

According to BRAC-Liberia the training focused on breastfeeding, complementary breastfeeding, malnutrition prevention, and vitamin A deficiencies.

Facia Goah, nutrition focus person for Montserrado County at the Ministry of Health, appreciated BRAC for involving community organizations in the fight against malnutrition.

She added that diet diversification is one of the major challenges to reducing malnutrition in the country.

"Our people are used to eating one kind of food, and parents are encouraging children to eat the same food. However, encouraging people to eat varieties comes with huge collaboration," she said.

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