Statement by H.E. Mr. Masud Bin Momen, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN in New York at the Special High Level Event on “In Stronger Partnership and Better Coordination of Efforts to Stop Human Trafficking, Eradicating Modern Day Slavery through Sustainable Development’ ECOSOC Chamber at UNHQ,New York 9 February 2016.
Thank you Mr. Moderator. President, United Nations General Assembly, President, ECOSOC, President, United Nations Security Council, Executive Director, UNODC Excellencies, Ladies and Gentleman A good morning to you all. Mr. Moderator, 1. Bangladesh as member of Group of Friends United Against Human Trafficking is pleased to take part in this Special High Level Event on Human Trafficking. (Like other speakers) I would like to commend the Group and UNODC for convening this event in a very timely manner when the member states are trying to find out the means and ways of implementing the SDGs with a view to combating human trafficking as well as other goals and targets for a better world for all. 2. Human trafficking continues to feature as one of the fastest growing organized transnational crime in the world and thrives on enslaving an estimated 2.5 million people. It victims comes from hundreds of countries, with a growing number of children, especially girls, falling prey to its viscous grip. 3. Last year, in the month of September, the world leaders unanimously adopted the people centric transformative universal agenda for Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, targets 5.2, 8.7 and 16.2 reaffirm the commitment of governments to address this heinous crime of trafficking in persons through immediate and effective measures. The nature of crime of human trafficking requires stronger partnership and better coordination among member states to eradicate it to ensure sustainable development for all especially those ill-fated victims of human trafficking including women and children.
4. As a country of origin, transit and destination, Bangladesh maintains ‘zero tolerance’ policy to human trafficking. The Government remains vigilant to protect its citizens who fall victims of trafficking – fraudulent and forced labour – in any forms. Accordingly, the Government of Bangladesh, under the leadership of the Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has been making sincere efforts to combat trafficking in persons, in particular trafficking in women and children.
5. Bangladesh has set up Counter-Trafficking Committees (CTC) up to the Union level, the lowest tier of the local Government; ensured participation of relevant NGOs and CSOs in the CTCs at all administrative levels; operationalized a Monitoring Cell at the Police Headquarters to collect and analyse data on trafficking; and adopted the National Action Plan for Combating Human Trafficking (2015-2017).
6. The Government’s persistent efforts to combat human trafficking have been reflected in Bangladesh’s graduation to Tier II in the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report in 2012 that Bangladesh has maintained since then.
7. Bangladesh strongly believes in stronger partnership and better coordination in eradicating the scourge of human trafficking. At the bilateral level, Bangladesh has been engaging with her neighbors. [With India, Bangladesh has been successfully implementing joint anti-trafficking programs on Rescue, Recovery, Repatriation and Integration (RRRI).With Myanmar Bangladesh has initiated a process for setting up a Border Liaison Office across our borders with Myanmar. With Thailand, Bangladesh has proposed to form a bilateral Joint Task Force to combat transnational Crimes including trafficking.] Bangladesh has been playing an active role in the region in combating trafficking through the SAARC Task Force on Trafficking. Bangladesh is also mooted a proposal to establish a sub-group on Human Trafficking in the framework of BIMSTEC.
8. Bangladesh remains a regular and active participant in the Bali Process in line with our national commitment to curb trafficking in persons. Bangladesh remains in the forefront of all major initiatives within the UN on combating trafficking in persons and people’s smuggling, especially those addressing the situation of women and children.
9. Bangladesh is always an active participant in the ‘Group of Friends United against Human Trafficking’ which is an informal, voluntary and open-ended group of 21 Member States. The Hon’ble Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, participated the Fourth and the last Ministerial Meeting of the ‘Group of Friends United against Human Trafficking’ was held on 26 September 2013, called for greater partnership between the Group of Friends and the UN Inter-Agency Coordination Team [to mobilize resources to support capacity-building of law enforcement agencies and security forces of developing countries, members of the Group, especially for investigation and prosecution of trafficking related offences and protection of victims].
10. Bangladesh expressed its firm commitment in Bangkok meeting, held on 29 May 2015, against the backdrop of discovery of mass graves in Thailand and Malaysia and rescue of thousands of trafficking victims floating in boats in the Andaman seas, to work within regional and international set up in search of the root cause of trafficking in this region. The UN Secretary General has also recently urged the regional countries to address the root causes of the current exodus in the region. While we grapple with root causes, we cannot afford to let the traffickers to win over us. As the present case indicates, we are pitted against an organized transnational criminal network that has acquired the capacity to challenge our national efforts. We shall succeed in dismantling this network when we have stronger partnership and better coordination among countries to stop human trafficking.
11. In this context, let me also share that being the current Chair of GFMD, Bangladesh will endeavor to realize Migration for sustainable development through enhancing governance of migration and building on institution and process for safe, orderly and regular migration.
I thank you all.