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Addressing child trafficking in Bangladesh

Child trafficking has been on the rise in Bangladesh, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Together with the U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Office (TIP), we work in a programme to combat the increase of sex and labour trafficking caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Mahmudul Kabir

Country manager Bangladesh

“With the one stop digital service centre we ensure opportunities for registering and reporting sex and labour trafficking. It provides support services and mobilises communities offline and online in order to report trafficking cases so that victims can get the support they need.”

Background

As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, the trend in human trafficking continues to worsen. The damage to systems for assistance and identification of trafficking victims becomes increasingly apparent. Referral mechanisms, which are essential for identification of victims and their access to rights, are impacted. In Bangladesh, Counter Trafficking Committees (CTCs) are used to identify victims at the grassroots level and assist with reporting and referral to social and legal services. However, ongoing COVID-19 restrictions limit the opportunities to meet and support victims face to face. CTCs do not have offices, computers, IT systems, or online skills to help victims online. As a result, the victims of trafficking remain unidentified and do not have access to the assistance they need.

This programme creates community awareness among girls, boys, and young women on COVID-19 induced trafficking risks. It mobilises communities to report trafficking cases using the digital tools developed by the programme. The programme also builds the capacity of counter trafficking committees to assist victims in reporting cases using online mechanisms with a trauma informed and victim centric approach. The programme encourages victims to report cases and seek all kinds of services including psychosocial counselling from government and NGO service providers.

Goals

The programme intends to develop a service centre, reporting and referral system for cases of sexual exploitation of children, child trafficking and child labour in Bangladesh.

Approach

The programme intends to develop a service centre, reporting and referral system for cases of sexual exploitation of children, child trafficking and child labour in Bangladesh.

Reporting and referral of sex and labour trafficking.

Training of service providers

Coordination of the many existing initiatives

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