Background of human trafficking
Human trafficking can be related to the slave trade, a practice that was common before the 17th century. Human trafficking involves the transportation of human beings from one region to the other for the main purpose of providing cheap labour, as well as some income to the traders. In this procedure, humans are lured or forced into accepting to work elsewhere for a fee. In some cases, there is no payment accorded to the workers, they are not paid anything especially if they have been exchanged for money. Their masters or mistress only agree to carter for their needs during the period, which they work for them. Once the exchange has taken place, a person is at the mercies of his or her master and will hence be required to engage in any work or activity they are assigned.
Human trafficking is an illegal practice yet common in modern society. The biggest victims remain to be children and women who are lured into activities they did not necessarily bargain. When the victims of human trafficking realise the dangers that are involved in undertaking certain responsibilities, it dawns on them that they were promised a different package from what they get. The practice is also done in a manner that will make it difficult for the victim to report their perpetrators or not even have substantial grounds to do so.
Human trafficking is prompted by the need for better living through finding jobs away from a persons’ residence. The believe that some cities and nations are more developed and provide better job opportunities has led to the widespread of the practice. Most nations such as Bangladesh face serious unemployment issues, which leave people with no alternative but seek for opportunities elsewhere. Despite the warnings and awareness that people have on tricks used to traffic humans, the desperation that people have to make a living make them fall victims to such swindles.
Background of Bangladesh
Bangladesh gained its independence in 1971 from Pakistan. The independence took place in the Bangladesh liberation war. The country has a close association with the region of Bengal in India. The main religions of the country are Hindu, Islam and Buddhism. The phases that the nation have gone through where it was separated from powerful states that boosted its economy, it suffered a great deal. Since its separation from West Pakistan, issues such as national disasters, famine, diseases and poverty faced it.
Democracy was restored in the country in 1991, which has been followed by slower economic and political growth. Bangladesh is among the developing nations and relies on foreign aid and income. The political instability the country has faced in the past has made it difficult for the economy to grow, with many families still wallowing in poverty. The need to make a living has since seen the influx of foreign companies, as well as immigration of residents in search of greener pastures. Human trafficking remains to be one of the biggest challenges faced by the country even as efforts are made to curb the vice. There has always been an allegation that the scam to illegally sell people outside for labour, is aided by top government officials. The frauds have hence made it difficult to contain the issue as the government protects the perpetrators.
Human trafficking is a serious issue in Bangladesh that has recorded the highest in the world. Despite the measures that have been put up by the government including tough laws to punish the perpetrators, human trafficking is the hardest to deal with in Bangladesh. Each day, month and years, children as young as nine years, women and men are sold out into slavery either within or outside the borders of Bangladesh. Bangladesh is a third world country with high rates of unemployment. This, therefore, prompts various individuals and organisations to look for means through which to survive. International employment has been considered the best as it minimizes on the economic pressure in the country. The country runs legal bureaus that assist citizens to obtain work abroad, the charges are, however, high compared to what they will get in return and hence forcing most citizens to use other illegal bureaus.
Fighting human trafficking in Bangladesh is complicated by the fact that most illegal bureaus collaborate with some local leaders and parents. Human trafficking occurs in various unsuspecting ways, where the victims are lured into accepting the deals with falls promises. Some of the terms that they are given including the work, expected salary and a promise for better living standards are usually not true. Unsuspecting victims buy into the idea not knowing what they are putting themselves. Most parents who are also desperate to earn a living and reduce on the burden of taking care of their children willingly sell them into slavery. The desperation to earn a living implies that, the issue of human trafficking in Bangladesh is being prompted by the desperate need of people to survive (Feingold, 2005). A mother would not willingly sell her child into labour, if they had the ability to provide for their needs.
The highest percentages of people who are trafficked across borders are young girls and women who are sold into brothels and domestic labour. It is disheartening for a fifteen-year-old girl to be promised a decent job overseas only to be introduced to the horrifying work of sex. Since most of them are sold, they may not have the travel documents or even money to trace their way back home. They are also strangers in the land and sometimes unable to communicate in the native language. They are, therefore, left at the mercies of their masters and mistresses who care less about their wellbeing, but rather, the income they get from them. Some of the countries where Bangladeshis’ are trafficked for labour include Saudi Arabia, United States, India and china. Most young men are usually trafficked to engage in hard labour such as working in mines, quarries and as soldiers.
Human trafficking also occurs for the main purpose of selling organs. There are cases whereby the victims are forced into operations rooms where their organs are removed and used for commercial purposes. This poses serious threats to their health and even life. Since they were exchanged for a price, which is averaged at $ 1000, nobody may care about their disappearance. Depending on whether trafficking was done by force or through consent of their parents, there are usually mixed reports about the whereabouts of the victims. The biggest challenge for the government is to identify illegal bureaus and NGO’s that are responsible for such trafficking. Efforts have been put in place to arrest those who are engaged in illegal trade practices. Punishment for the perpetrators ranges from ten years imprisonment to a life sentence.
Most of the cases that involve human trafficking go unreported as others are thrown out of the court due to lack of evidence. Apart from punishing the perpetrators of human trafficking, the government has also put in place measures to rescue those sold out into slavery. There are various efforts by the government to collaborate with other governments to ensure that those who were illegally transported are rescued. The biggest challenge remains on having adequate rehabilitation centres for them. After facing torture, especially for the children and commercial sex workers, it becomes difficult for them to fit in their communities. Some of the children who were trafficked at a young age may not even be able to identify their way back home and therefore, requiring much support from the government.
Masters and mistresses of the sold slaves usually dump them especially when their services become irrelevant. For instance, it reaches a point where the young men, women and children can no longer perform the responsibilities they were bought for due to age and sicknesses. Since their employers are not ready to incur extra liabilities of taking care of them, they dump them and look for fresh energy. These are mostly the people that are taken back to their various embassies to be shipped back to their countries of origin. With no money and strength left, such victims may not be accepted or even accommodated back into their families. The government is, therefore, left with the burden of providing shelter and support, before they can fully support themselves (Paul & Hasnath, 2000). Such victims usually require much counselling, medical attention and to be supplied with other basic needs such as food and clothing.
Many decades after the abolishment of the slave trade, it remains a big issue especially in developing countries. People take advantage of the desperate situation to get employment and earn a living to force them into labour. It is disheartening that some of the people that have even acquired good education and deserve some decent jobs end up falling victims to slavery. Modern slavery happens when the cartels, which are desperate to make a fortune out of them, promise to organise them good jobs abroad. With such assurances, they submit their documents and all the money demanded. Once they reach their promised land of fortune, they are handed in to other cartels. They realise that the terms at which they agreed on are different from what they are being offered. Such people end up taking jobs they never bargained for since they lack an alternative but to make a living. Victims of human trafficking are people who may have sacrificed for the sake of their families, with the hope that they will get good returns and, therefore, salvaging for what was lost.
Cases of families that have been abandoned by their parents, who went out in search of greener pastures continue to be reported. Months and years pass without any information from their breadwinners not realising what may have befallen them. It is even difficult for the families to track their relatives especially when they do not understand the means they used to travel and the countries they travelled. Apart from containing the issue of human trafficking in Bangladesh, the government bears the greatest responsibility of improving the living conditions of its citizens so that they are not forced into some income generating programs that endanger them. There is also a need for the government to provide workable mechanisms like lowering the fee required to obtain employment abroad (Aronowitz, 2009). One of the reasons why people fall victims to illegal employment cartels is because of the high levies charged by the government for their travel abroad and the tough conditions they must fulfil.
Apart from human trafficking across borders, there is also an internal form of labour where mostly young girls are ambushed from their villages to go and work in big cities like prostitutes. Most of them, who could be as young as nine years old are enticed to accept the deals, which may not be clean. For instance, some of them who are derived from poor backgrounds and families are promised marriage to some rich fellows or some housework, which will earn them good money. Because of their innocence and ignorance, they accept to move from their homes to the cities. They are then introduced to brothels where they are raped and forced to accept to work as prostitutes. They live in poor conditions where they are forced to share small rooms and wait for a prospective client to appear. While serving their clients, most of them are abused and infected with venereal diseases including HIV/AIDS.
Irrespective of their young age and ignorance about their reproductive health, the girls are given a target of the male clients they are to serve. While at this, they do not receive anything in return. They, therefore, are not given any allowance to obtain quality health care or buy necessities. They have to survive on what they are given of which in most cases is never adequate for their needs. The nature of their work and the fact that they were coerced into it does not give them a chance to even visit their family members. They are also warned of tough measures and consequences if they report to concerned authorities. The only time when they are relieved off their duties is when they are too sick to perform or are deemed old for their responsibilities (Bruch, 2004). Apart from the torture they have to experience, they are also given injections and medications to improve their body structure, prevent them from pregnancies as well as improving their libido. Since such medications are administered without the advice of a physician, they pose a great risk to their health with dangerous side effects.
The government should introduce tougher measures especially to those who are engaged in child trafficking. The government can also ensure that children are protected from guardians who keep their children from school and instead; expose them to labour. Some of the measures will require the government to provide free and compulsory primary education. With the measures, children will be kept busy from forced labour as well as denying their parents the temptation of having to sell them off. Reproductive health should also be taught to girls and even mothers to ensure they are safe from unwanted pregnancies and the risks that come with unplanned sex (Huda, 2006). One of the reasons why Bangladesh leads in human trafficking is because of its population and the inability of the nation to contain the people. This has therefore, made many developed nations take advantage of their situation and use them as a source of cheap labour. This issue can only be resolved if there is increased awareness on the importance of family planning.
The government also needs to increase its awareness among the citizens about their rights. The law provides for laws that are supposed to protect both children and adults from forced labour. However, many of such cases, which are known, go unreported because the victims do not know the procedures that need to be followed in reporting their perpetrators. Some of the victims and especially young girls never even realise that they are being abused and accepted their fate as normal. For instance, there is a prevalence of child labour in major cities of Bangladesh where small girls are burdened with household chores. They take this as a normal duty that they require to fulfil to earn a living as well as providing for their families without realising that it is not their right. Their early exposure to adult responsibilities makes them feel they deserve the pain and even the abuse they experience. Children go through pain because they are not aware of their rights as children and that they can report their employers and parents who forced them into it.
Conclusion and summary
Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery that is caused by tough economic times. Human trafficking touches on various stakeholders that need to come up with a permanent solution. Such a trade can never succeed without a ready market for the slaves as well as avenues through which the cartels are protected. Human trafficking is painful when small going children are targeted and, therefore, denied the opportunity to grow and go to school to improve their lives. Unless the children are protected from such a trend, it means a society in the future will be full of adults who are less informed but full of experiences that involve torture. When a child is forced to learn torture and slavery at a young age, they tend to believe that the environment is meant to be that way. It will hence be difficult for the government to expect such children to behave well once they reach their maturity.
Cartels that deal in human trafficking are prevalent not only in Bangladesh but also globally. These cartels are well organised and said to earn a much money. Most of them are done through the collaboration of top government officials which make it quite difficult to contain the issue. The cartels carry out their business with the knowledge that they are involved in illegal trade practices. They hence have clever ways of ensuring that they succeed in their business without being caught. There is no protection provided to the victims who can provide information to arrest those involved in the trade. Even when they are caught and arrested, they are often released because of insufficient evidence. The victims may not have sufficient grounds to prove the allegations. Human trafficking is becoming a complicated business especially with the developments in technology. The business is moving from being just physical to digital. There is much communication and collaboration being done through the internet to kidnap and even drag unsuspecting persons into forced labour. The best solution is to create awareness, give children compulsory education and encourage family planning among families.
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Feingold, D. A. (2005). Human trafficking. Foreign Policy, 26-32.
Huda, S. (2006). Sex trafficking in South Asia. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 94(3), 374-381.
Paul, B. K., & Hasnath, S. A. (2000). Trafficking in Bangladeshi women and girls. Geographical Review, 90(2), 268-276.