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“All Citizens are Equal before Law and are Entitled to Equal Protection of Law”-Article 27 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Issue No: 182
March 19, 2005

This week's issue:
Human Rights Analysis
Law Alter Views
Rights Investigation
Rights Monitor
Rights Corner
Law Watch
Law Week

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Rights monitor

Report on Anti-Trafficking

Speedy disposal possible with due care and attention

Sultana Razia

The report on anti-trafficking measures prepared by the Home Ministry is the first of its kind in the history of Bangladesh. In the press conference held on March 16, 2005, Home Secretary Omar Farook briefed the press about the report.

Measures taken
To promote and protect human rights, especially the rights of children and women, initiatives were taken to combat trafficking and to this end the following measures were taken:
*Establishment of a Monitoring Cell at the police headquarters.
*Setting up of different committees at the national and district levels.
*Monitoring of selected cases relating to trafficking .
*Screening of persons at all airports and land ports.
*Rescue and recovery of trafficked persons.
*Rehabilitation of trafficked persons and subsequent monitoring.
*Apprehension of traffickers by the law enforcers .
*Reparation of trafficked persons.
*Awareness creation and motivation against trafficking in women and children.
*Regular flow of timely and correct information.

Achieved results
For the regular monitoring and administrative strictness following results were achieved:
*Regular flow of timely and correct information were coming in a regular basis
*For the quick disposal of cases Special Tribunal was setting up all over the country to deal with the cases relating trafficking. From 15 June 2004 the committee was started working. Since then 86 cases were taken up, 72 cases have already been disposed of and of this, 48 cases ended in conviction while 24 cases ended in acquittal. Remaining 14 cases, yet to be disposed with in this month. But certainly these speedy trail didn't hamper the quality of justice nor the judicial process is interrupted.

How is speedy disposal possible?
For prompt disposal of the cases Farook said, "Witnesses and the accused were produced before the court in time. There was continuous trail of cases, that is, for each activity in the court like, examination of witnesses and accused, and arguments, the court sat continuously." For speedy disposal of cases, the numbers of pending cases were reduced. Thus the total number of pending cases was 571 in June 2004 while it was 481 in March 2005. This is a great achievement!

For the speedy mobilisation of the cases they also took the help of law enforcing agencies and to escort victims and witnesses officers were engaged instead of constables and the officer in-charge of the area concerned was responsible for the timely appearance of the victims in court.

The three-stage screening process at the international airports and land ports from June 15, 2004 to March 15, 2005 contributed to the prevention of 777 persons including 38 women and children from going abroad without valid documents. The anti-trafficking measures also rescued 206 trafficked persons including 100 women and 98 children.

Future plans
The existing measures being taken for the quick disposal of the cases will continue with renewed vigour, zeal and determination. Training for the immigration officers has been undertaken and prosecutors at different levels will be further trained. Besides that motivational and awareness programmes will also be arranged for religious leaders, civil societies, members of the local government, members of the law enforcement agencies etc.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also plans to make strong liaison with other countries, especially those receiving trafficked women and children (particularly where children are being used as camel jockeys). It will be further strengthened and intensified to ensure effective cooperation to combat the evil of trafficking in women and children and use of children as camel jockeys.

It should be mentioned that Bangladesh was in Tier-3 and for the initiative of our government it was taken to Tier-2 again. Bangladesh has made significant progress in combating trafficking in persons (TIP) in recent times, creating a positive example in this regard, Omar Farooq said at the press conference.

It is the most systematic and institutional arrangement to combat trafficking in women and children in Bangladesh and obviously it is a united effort by our government and some NGOs. It is an example to us and we hope it will continue.

From Law Desk.


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