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ISSN 1563-9304 | Jiashthy 31 1411 BS, Monday | June 14, 2004
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Women, Children Trafficking-10,000 taken across border a year

Monday June 14 2004 10:01:40 AM BDT

At least 7,000 to 10,000 women and children are trafficked from Bangladesh every year on average, advocate Salma Ali of Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association said citing a study of her organisation covering 300 villages.
While talking to The Daily Star yesterday she said that, according to the US State Department report, the figure is between 10,000 and 20,000.

She said routes for trafficking are ever changing and a tripartite agreement among Bangladesh and India and Pakistan is crucially important in combating trafficking from Bangladesh.

Women and Children Affairs Minister Khurshid Zahan Haque, however, differed on the number when she, referring to home ministry and district administration record, said a total of 708 women and children have been trafficked from Bangladesh since 2000 till April this year.

She was speaking at the publication ceremony of Counter Trafficking Framework Report at a city hotel yesterday.

She also said that 40 lakh women and children have so far been trafficked across the world according to the United Nations (UN) estimate.

Terming trafficking in women and children a gross violation of human rights, speakers at the ceremony said comprehensive and integrated approach is absolutely imperative to combat human trafficking.

The minister said that her ministry has undertaken two projects in the light of the report to prevent trafficking of children, juveniles and women.

Secretary to the Women Affairs Ministry Mortuza Hossain Munshi said that a large number of children and women are trafficked from Bangladesh for the purpose of sexual exploitation and camel jockeying.

Pointing out the key recommendations of the report, Regional Representative of International Organisation for Migration Shahidul Haque called for intervention from the governments of the countries between which human trafficking takes place.

He also stressed integrated and comprehensive migration to address the problem.

"My ministry will do whatever is possible to combat trafficking," said Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Quamrul Islam.

From now on, any women going abroad for jobs will have to obtain approval from the ministry, he said.

The speakers identified India, Pakistan and Middle Eastern countries as the destination or transit countries in trafficking from Bangladesh.

Describing the measures to combat trafficking as at the top of the agenda of her government, the Norwegian Ambassador to Bangladesh Aud Lise Norheim said her government is very keen to help Bangladesh to beat the menace of human trafficking.


The Daily Star

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