Need more international cooperation to prevent human trafficking: UN expert

Dhaka, Nov 9 (EFE).- Wider international cooperation is needed to prevent cross-border trafficking, Siobhan Mullally, the UN special rapporteur on human trafficking, said on Wednesday.

“Trafficking is a serious human rights violation. We need to strengthen our efforts to prevent that from happening,” Mullally told reporters in Dhaka after her 10-day visit to Bangladesh.

“We need improved international cooperation to prevent cross-border trafficking for all purposes of exploitation.”

During her visit that began on Oct.31, Mullally met senior Bangladesh government officials, members of law enforcement agencies, civil society groups, and trafficking survivors.

The Irish human rights expert also visited Cox’s Bazar in the south-east of the country to meet with Rohingya trafficking victims.

Bangladesh has been a bridge for human traffickers.

They use the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea to enter other countries on the continent, transporting migrants and refugees seeking better life opportunities.

Citing officials, Mullally said between July and September, at least 80 Rohingyas, including 11 women, six boys, and two girls, were victims of trafficking attempts.

At least three Rohingya refugees were killed and 45 were rescued alive on Oct.4 after their boat capsized in the Bay of Bengal while trying to flee to Malaysia from the overcrowded refugee camps in southeastern Bangladesh.

In April 2020, Bangladesh authorities rescued 396 Rohingya refugees, trying to return to the country in a boat from the southern coast after 58 days at sea.

Malaysian authorities had blocked them from entering the country after they fled Bangladeshi refugee camps.

At least 28 people died due to the lack of food and drinking water during the voyage, with their bodies thrown into the sea, survivors said.

Bangladesh is home to over 925,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled neighboring Myanmar, including around 774,000 who escaped after the Myanmar military launched a military campaign in 2017 described as ethnic cleansing and possible genocide by the United Nations.

Mullally also called for “urgent action” to locate the recruitment process for migrants to ensure greater transparency and safety at all stages of recruitment and monitoring about what happens to all recruitment intermediaries.

Mullally also called for significant investment in child protection to reduce the vulnerability of children in street situations, children with disabilities, children of sex workers, and children of refugees.

“We need an expansion of social services and a more proactive approach to identify those at risk and ensure their protection,” she said.

The UN expert will present a comprehensive report of her visit to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2023. EFE


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