Vol. 4 Num 8 Wed. June 04, 2003  

Video films
Anti-Trafficking Video Film Festival
Time to spread the message of awareness

Begum Khurshid Jahan Haque minister of Women and Children Affairs said at the Anti-Trafficking Video Film Festival that was held recently. "It is not possible to solve the trafficking issue by one country alone and it requires cooperation with coordinated efforts of neighboring countries. Bangladesh and all the member countries of SAARC have also been struggling to address the trafficking problem following a holistic approach. The SAARC regional meeting and follow-up meeting have already taken initiatives to draw up some common strategies and measures in this regard. The SAARC convention has emphasized on the importance of bi-lateral treaty between the countries having common interest and problems within the region. Besides national plan of Action against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children including Trafficking has also underlined the need for having bi-lateral treaty among the sending and receiving countries like Bangladesh and India."

Ferdous Ara Begum Joint Secretary, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs said at the same function organized by ATSEC Bangladesh Chapter and The American Center recently, "Human trafficking particularly the trafficking of women and children is a leading international crime and the worst form of human rights abuse, specially trafficking of adolescent girls is one of the major forms of sexual exploitation both within the country and cross border. Human trafficking is also seen as the most prominent cause of rapid growth of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which in turn, has a negative impact on the development process. According to a recent report from the US State department regarding global trafficking issue, approximately 4 million people are bought, sold, transported and held in slavery for sex and exploited labor globally each year.

She added that, "Bangladesh has often been identified as a country where women and children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking due to poverty, illiteracy and low status of women for a better life. Bangladesh shares its borders with India and Myanmar, which is also a pressing cause for trafficking in women and children.

According to a news item published recently, there is a claim that about 20 thousand women and children are being trafficked abroad from Bangladesh each year. Another source claimed that roughly 200 women and children are being trafficked in a month to neighboring countries. In absence of any dependable database regarding the trafficking situation in Bangladesh, authenticity of all these statistical information's are not always very clear. Establishment of a dependable data source is very essential to formulate a comprehensive macro level policy demarcation to combat trafficking in person."

She also said that," The government of Bangladesh is very much committed to combatting the trafficking through coordinated effort of poverty reduction, socio-economic development and promotion of safe labor migration. Government's poverty reduction strategy emphasizes on education, health, agriculture, social welfare, women and youth development, labor, manpower, physical infrastructure and institutional development in the rural areas. Government of Bangladesh has also taken poverty alleviation steps through micro financing and micro entrepreneurship to improve women's empowerment at the gross root level so that the rural economy could come out from the clutches of poverty, which is the root cause of human trafficking."

Emranul Huq Chowdhury Coordinator, ATSEC said at that function, "I believe that this film festival will be the first initiative to play the role of the vanguard on behalf of the partnering agencies and other stakeholders as well in making mass people aware against the trafficking inside the country. I also optimize that this film festival would strengthen the capacity of the organizations working against human trafficking and will encourage them to be more prompt, active and skilled to combat this sort of heinous deed happening inside the country and around the region."

The video films like "Destination Unknown", "Kothay jabo", "Kranti" and "Nishabda Jatra" that were shown at the functions were powerful in conveying the message that bickering over dowry plays an important role in the life of a young woman. Unemployment, illiteracy and poverty are some of the major casues of trafficking. Awareness of these factors should be spread thoughout our society.

Women Traffickers