Cablegate: Embassy Dhaka Input to Eighth Annual Trafficking in Persons

DE RUEHKA #0290/01 0641123
R 041123Z MAR 08





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: STATE 02731

1. This Anti-Trafficking in Persons (TIP) covers anti-trafficking
efforts by the Government of Bangladesh (GOB) from April 2007 to
March 2008. Paragraph two begins text. Embassy point of contact is
Kapil Gupta, Political/Economic Officer, telephone: 880-2-885-5500 x
2206, IVG post-code: 583, fax number: 880-2-882-3744, e-mail: Compiling the report required 68 hours at the
FS-04 level, 16 hours at the FS-02 level, and 20 hours by USAID

2. Overview of Bangladesh's Activities to Eliminate Trafficking in
Persons (Paragraph 27 from REFTEL).

-- A. Bangladesh remains a country of origin and transit, especially
for women and children, for the purposes of sexual exploitation,
involuntary domestic servitude, and debt bondage. The caretaker
government that took office in January 2007 has focused its efforts
on fighting corruption and improving law enforcement. In the past
year, the GOB focused added attention on irregularities and illegal
practices of labor recruitment agencies that have supported possible
labor trafficking activities.

A significant number of persons (estimated to exceed 100 persons)
from Bangladesh are trafficked internally and externally to India,
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates
(UAE), Qatar, Iraq, and other Middle-Eastern countries. No areas of
the country are outside of the Government of Bangladesh's control,
but law enforcement capabilities in rural areas are extremely
limited. Bangladesh's large populations of poor and uneducated
persons are most at risk of trafficking. Economic vulnerability
directly contributes to individual decisions to seek employment
outside home communities.

No comprehensive studies of the extent or magnitude of human
trafficking in Bangladesh have been conducted for the purposes of
statistical reporting. Information about trafficking is derived from
law enforcement, prosecution, and victim assistance programs. The
GOB's Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) has institutionalized a
comprehensive system for capturing information regarding its
Trafficking-in-Persons activities. The GOB's Ministry of Expatriate
Welfare and Overseas Employment (MEWOE) has tracked responses to
complaints received overseas by Bangladeshi Labor Attaches from
expatriate Bangladeshi workers. Additional sources of information
include media reporting and anecdotal evidence from sources
including NGOs, business people, and other international donors and
diplomatic missions.

-- B. In the absence of reliable human trafficking figures, it is
difficult to characterize trends quantitatively in the trafficking
situation in Bangladesh. Overall, human trafficking continues to
receive serious attention from the GOB and civil society, and public
awareness continues to increase based on public and private outreach
efforts. NGO sources indicate that the trafficking of women and
children is abating. Simultaneously, they perceive an increase in
the detainment of traffickers and the rescue of TIP victims. Between
April 2007 and 10 February 2008, MOHA reports a total of 92 TIP
victims rescued by law enforcement agencies.

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Victims of trafficking have been reported as being lured away from
their home communities by false promises of marriage or employment.
Targeted populations include the very poor, migrants, ethnic
minorities, flood and other disaster victims, runaways, the
illiterate, and women who have been divorced, widowed, or abandoned.
For child trafficking, children are kidnapped, purchased or
received by traffickers from parents. In some cases, trafficked
children have traveled with a parent or guardian to their place of
work, only to be left with the employer after a few weeks. In other
cases, poor parents are led to believe that traffickers may be able
to provide better economic or educational opportunities for their
children. For trafficking in children, the Center for Women and
Child Services reports that trafficked boys are generally under 10
years of age and trafficked girls are generally adolescents between
11 and 16 years of age.

For the trafficking of male victims, established patterns of
legitimate employment outside home villages (within Bangladesh) or
outside Bangladesh create a positive impression of the possibility
of earning money abroad or in other parts of the country. Bangladesh
provides a large number of laborers to other countries, particularly
to the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Adding to the millions
already working abroad, for CY 2007 the Bangladesh Agency for
Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) reports they processed
832,609 workers for employment abroad, going mainly to Malaysia, UAE
and Saudi Arabia. Expatriate labor remittances are the largest net
source of foreign currency for Bangladesh: BMET reports remittances
of USD 6.568 billion in 2007. While the vast majority of
Bangladeshi expatriate laborers work under legitimate contracts,
some Bangladeshi laborers are trafficked. Some are trafficked after
arriving in their intended destination country or while in transit.
For international labor trafficking out of Bangladesh the economic
conditions of bondage are created initially by debts associated with
illegal processing fees for labor contracts and visas. Domestically
and internationally, victims of labor trafficking have been subject
to contract substitution and/or non-performance by the employer of
the original contract. Physical violence and threats has been used
to compel involuntary labor. Given that the GOB has just initiated
tracking efforts on complaints of abuses received abroad from
expatriate Bangladeshi workers, no trends on labor trafficking
violations abroad can be stated yet.

Fake birth, marriage, divorce, and death certificates are widely
available, and few people in rural areas register births (nationally
less than 10% of live births are registered) or marriages. Many
Bangladeshis use at least two birth dates: the actual date of their
biological birth event, and a fake birth-date used for official
school records and employment purposes. Based on the ubiquity of
fake/unverifiable feeder documents, real passports can be obtained
for fake identities.

Progress on the rehabilitation of former camel jockeys in the UAE
continues. Since 2004, a total of 199 boys originally trafficked as
camel jockeys have been repatriated from the UAE to Bangladesh under
an agreement between the two governments. In the past year (2007) 1
to 3 former camel jockeys were repatriated. (Most repatriation
occurred in 2005 and 2006.) All but one former camel jockey have

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been reintegrated. Unofficially, since 2005, at least 32 boys have
returned from the UAE to Bangladesh through other channels.

According to GOB reports, no camel jockeys of Bangladeshi origin
remain in the UAE. Former jockeys report that some trafficked camel
jockeys have chosen to stay on in the UAE and are pursuing other
employment options, sometimes continuing in the camel racing field
in capacities other than jockeys. (There is no evidence they are
being re-trafficked.) The repatriation of camel jockeys and
prosecution of traffickers involves social and psychological
challenges: after years of living in the UAE, many jockeys are
accustomed to a standard of living exceeding their economic
opportunities in Bangladesh. In one case, after years of living
with the trafficker who took on the role of a fake mother to
facilitate the trafficking, actual bonds of affection developed
between a victim and the trafficker; on returning to Bangladesh the
former camel jockey chose not to press a trafficking case against
the mother figure.

Human trafficking is commonly understood in Bangladesh as the
trafficking of women and children. This conceptualization
corresponds with the SAARC anti-trafficking convention, and
Bangladesh's main anti-trafficking legislation. Based on these
strong associations, there is less appreciation of the wider
definition of trafficking as including male victims, and more
generally the aspects of human trafficking in the form of
involuntary or bonded labor. According to a 2007 study by the
International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Daywalka
Foundation, in June of 2007 only 27 of 586 (4.6%) trafficking
victims recovered by the police were men (within an unspecified
period of time). This statistic shows that the men were recognized
by the police as trafficking victims, but the overall
anti-trafficking paradigm remains focused on women and children.

Although Bangladesh's labor and criminal laws penalize involuntary
and bonded labor, there remains a lack of clarity on the definition
of certain labor abuses and labor law violations as being a form of
trafficking. However, the GOB's Home Ministry and Ministry of
Expatriate Welfare made strides in the past year in accepting that
labor law abuses and violations (including involuntary servitude and
indentured labor) is a form of trafficking, particularly when
associated with expatriate laborers. Some TIP NGOs resist the
definitional extension of trafficking into labor abuses. They argue
that in most cases workers who sign up to go abroad are aware of the
conditions and situations they will face, in essence claiming that
out of economic necessity expatriate workers are forewarned and
functionally consent to the conditions associated with trafficking.

-- C. The lead Government of Bangladesh agency on
trafficking-in-persons is the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA), which
closely coordinates and oversees the Monitoring Cell for Trafficking
in Persons (physically located in the police headquarters). The
Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment (MEWOE) is
responsible for the licensing of labor agencies and places labor
attaches in designated GOB diplomatic missions.

The MOHA Secretary met monthly with NGOs working on anti-trafficking

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issues to facilitate coordination and cooperation between the
government and civil society. MOHA continued awareness and
motivation campaigns to combat trafficking in persons. Other GOB
actors involved with anti-trafficking efforts include the Prime
Minister's Office, the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs, the
Ministry of Law, the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Information,
the Ministry of Social Welfare, the Ministry of Labor and
Employment, the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Ministry of
Education, the NGO Affairs Bureau, the Department of Local
Government, the Civil Aviation Authority, the Department of
Immigration and Passports, the paramilitary ANSAR force, the
paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion, the paramilitary Bangladesh
Rifles, the Coast Guard, and the police.

-- D. The GOB has taken significant progressive steps in the last
four years to combat trafficking. Since 2004, law enforcement
efforts have been strengthened by the formation of the Monitoring
Cell for Trafficking in Persons within MOHA. The Monitoring Cell
has effectively coordinated and advocated anti-trafficking agendas
throughout the GOB.

Bangladesh's inefficient judicial system constrains the GOB's
ability to successfully prosecute trafficking offenses.
Bangladesh's courts are plagued by a high case backlog and
procedural loopholes that create significant time delays. Lack of
sufficient training for judges, prosecutors, and law enforcement
agents who draft charge sheets continue to constrain the prosecution
of trafficking cases. These delays create situations in which
traffickers may negotiate out-of-court settlements; for trafficking
victims (or their families) the choice of an immediate financial
payoff is more certain and preferable to the possibility of a court
verdict in their favor anywhere from two to six or more years in the
future. Thus, the case backlog and procedural delays endemic to the
Bangladeshi court system limit the ability of the GOB to
successfully prosecute trafficking crimes.

The GOB has sought to address deficiencies in the legal system by
working with the International Organization on Migration (IOM), the
Daywalka Foundation, and the US Department of Justice to provide
training for prosecutors. In the past year, IOM trained 750 lawyers
and prosecutors; DOJ trained 20 lawyers and 5 imams, and the
Daywalka Foundation trained 93 lawyers and 7 judges.

-- E. The Ministry of Home Affairs' (MOHA) Monitoring Cell for
Trafficking in Persons systematically collects data on trafficking
arrests, prosecutions, and rescues. This information is updated on
a monthly basis and is available to Post and other interested
donors. One of the functions performed by the cell is coordination
and analysis of local-level information from regional
anti-trafficking units. These regional police units are responsible
for monitoring local trafficking cases and assisting prosecutors in
getting the cases to trial.

District level trafficking-in-persons monitoring committees continue
to operate in each of Bangladesh's 64 districts, headed by the
Deputy Commissioner (the principal government officer at the
district level). Among several other responsibilities, these local
committees monitor selected trafficking cases and provide to Dhaka

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monthly progress reports on arrests, convictions, acquittals, and
repatriation of trafficked victims.

The GOB, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, now publishes an annual
Bangladesh Country Report on Combating Trafficking in Women and
Children. The last report was published on March 15, 2007. Post
will provide the latest version to G/TIP as soon as it is

The Ministry of Home Affairs also chairs monthly inter-ministerial
meetings and monthly meetings with leading NGOs. The meetings
decide actions be taken to prevent trafficking through public
service announcements and other outreach activities, coordinate
victim care while moving towards minimum care standards and bring in
other actors, as needed, to enhance the prosecution of cases.

3. Investigation and Prosecution (Paragraph 28 from REFTEL). There
has been no new anti-trafficking legislation passed in Bangladesh
since last year's report.

-- A. Bangladesh does not have a comprehensive law prohibiting
trafficking in persons for sexual and non-sexual purposes. The
deficiency of Bangladesh's central anti-trafficking law is that it
covers only women and children. However, other provisions of
Bangladesh's labor and criminal laws functionally cover trafficking
offenses against men (albeit neglecting the trafficking of men for
sexual purposes). (NOTE: Culturally, it appears that men are not
conceptualized as potentially being victims of either rape or sexual
trafficking. END NOTE.)

The Repression of Women and Children Prevention Act of 2000 (amended
in 2003) criminalizes internal and external trafficking of women and
children for both sexual and non-sexual purposes.

BEGIN TRANSLATION, compiled from multiple sources:

Definitions: "abduction" or "kidnapping" means whoever by forcing or
enticing or seducing or upon false believing or threatening, compels
any person to go from one place to another.

Section 5: Punishment for trafficking of women:
(1) Whoever sells, imports or exports, keeps in custody, lets to
hire or buys any woman of any age with intent that such woman shall
be employed or used for the purpose of prostitution, torture, or
illicit intercourse with any person, shall be punished with death
sentence or imprisonment for life or imprisonment which may extend
to 20 years but not less than 10 years and in addition shall be
liable to fine.
(2) When a woman is sold, let for hire or otherwise disposed of for
prostitution to any person who keeps or manages a brothel, the
person who has disposed or handed over that woman, until the
contrary is proven, shall be deemed to have sold or disposed of that
woman for the purpose of prostitution and will be punishable with
the same imprisonment as mentioned in subsection (1).
(3) When any person keeping or managing a brothel, buys, hires, or
otherwise takes possession or takes custody of woman shall until the
contrary is proven be deemed to have bought, hired, or taken his
possession of that woman for prostitution, and shall be punished

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with the same imprisonment as mentioned in subsection (1).

Section 6: Punishment for Child Trafficking:
(1) Whoever sells, imports or exports, keeps in custody, lets to
hire or buys any child for an immoral or unlawful purpose shall be
punished with the death sentence or imprisonment for life or
imprisonment which may extend to 20 years but not less than 10 years
and in addition shall be liable to fine.
(2) [Not relevant to trafficking - deals with theft of newborn
babies, and criminalized with the same penalties as subsection

Section 7: Punishment for abduction/kidnapping women and children:
Whoever kidnaps or abducts a women or child to commit a crime for
any other purpose excluding that specified in Section (5) shall be
punished with life imprisonment or a minimum of 14 years of rigorous
imprisonment and in addition shall be liable to fine.


In addition to these specific TIP provisions, prosecution of TIP
cases draws on other sections of The Repression of Women and
Children Prevention Act of 2000 (Amended in 2003): specifically,
Sections 9 (Rape and Death), 10 (Torture), 18 (Investigation of
offenses) and 20 (Trial Procedures).

The Constitution of Bangladesh includes key legal protections
contributing to TIP jurisprudence in Bangladesh: Article 18(2): the
State shall adopt effective measures to prevent prostitution;
Article 27: all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to
equal protection of law; Article 28(2): women shall have equal
rights with men in all spheres of the State and public life; Article
32: no person shall be deprived of life or personal liberty save in
accordance with law; Article 34(1): all forms of forced labor are
prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an
offence punishable in accordance with law.

Trafficking activities generate criminal liabilities according to
the Bangladesh Penal Code of 1860: Section 360: defines the offence
of kidnapping from Bangladesh; Section 366 (A): procuring a minor
girl under the age of 18 years with intent that she will be forced
or seduced to illicit intercourse with another person shall be
punishable with imprisonment which may extend to ten years; Section
366(B): importation of girl from foreign country under the age of 21
years for illicit intercourse or prostitution is punishable by a
maximum of 10 years imprisonment with fine. (NOTE: Sections 366A &
366B were incorporated in the Penal Code to implement the
International Covenant for the Suppression of Trafficking in Women &
Children, punishing traffickers of girls for prostitution. END NOTE)

Further TIP relevant provisions of the Bangladesh Penal Code of 1860
include the following: Section 369: kidnapping or abducting child
under ten years with intent to steal from its person; Section 370:
buying or disposing of any person as a slave; Section 371: habitual
dealing in slaves punishable by a maximum 10 years imprisonment and
fine; Section 372: selling minors under age of 18 years for purpose
of prostitution etc, punishable by maximum 10 years imprisonment and

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a fine; Section 373: buying minors under the age of 18 years for
purposes of prostitution etc, punishable by maximum 10 years
imprisonment and a fine; Section 374: unlawfully compelling a person
to labor against their will; Section 375: definition of the crime of
rape; Section 496: punishes fraudulent or mock marriages, with a
maximum punishment of 7 years imprisonment and a fine.

Based on the facts of the case, some TIP cases can draw on
additional prostitution-related legislation, family law and labor
law. Under the Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act of 1933 no girl
under 18 years of age may engage in the sex trade. According to
Section 42 of the Children Act of 1974, no girl under 16 years of
age either willingly or by coercion is permitted to work as a sex
worker. Other laws used in trafficking cases include the Child
Marriage Restraint Act (1929), the Children Pledging and Labor Act
(1933). For labor violations specifically, the Bangladesh Labor Act
of 2006 is also applicable, covering issues of forced labor, payment
of overtime, child labor, etc.

In some cases of international trafficking, prosecution of the cases
may take the form of immigration violations, in addition to, or for
lack of a strong case under other legal provisions. Per the
Bangladesh Passport Order of 1973, the following sections are
sometimes used in cases where the facts fit the pattern of
trafficking: Section 3: no person shall depart or attempt to depart
from Bangladesh unless he holds a valid passport or travel document;
Section 11: Whoever contravenes the provisions of Article 3 or
knowingly furnishes false information with a view to obtaining a
passport or uses a passport issued to another person or allows
another person to use a passport issued to him shall be punished
with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 6 months. Under
The Passport (Offences) Act of 1952, Section 3: Any person who
forgoes, alters or tampers with any passport or uses a passport
which he knows to be forged altered or tampered or traffic in
passports shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to 2
years. According to The Emigration Ordinance of 1982, Section 20:
Whoever, except in conformity with the provision of this ordinance,
emigrates or attempts to emigrate or departs or attempts to depart
shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to
one year.

-- B. The most common sentence handed down in sex trafficking cases
is life imprisonment, but sentences can range from 10 years of hard
labor to death. In the past year, MOHA reports that convictions and
punishments for trafficking under The Repression of Women and
Children Prevention Act of 2000 (Amended in 2003), which includes
sex trafficking and possibly labor trafficking as well, included the
following: 11 sentences of life imprisonment, 4 received other terms
(likely imprisonment and fines), and no death sentences.

-- C. Comprehensive statistics on the prosecution of labor abuse
violations are not available. Legally, the Bangladesh Labor Act of
2006 is generally applicable domestically, while domestic labor
trafficking violations involving women and children have been
prosecuted under The Repression of Women and Children Prevention Act
of 2000 (Amended in 2003). The regulation of expatriate worker
recruitment is overseen by the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare, and
guided by an Overseas Workers Policy adopted by the GOB in October

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2006. Prosecutions for labor trafficking violations are generally
conducted under anti-corruption, breach of contract, and fraud
statutes; these constitute a mix of potential civil and criminal
liabilities. Penalties for violations generally include
de-licensing, closure of the involved agency, forfeiture of security
bonds, as well as fines and possible jail time.

In 2007, the MEWOE and BMET continued enforcement action on labor
recruiting agencies. In order to obtain a license, labor recruiting
agencies must provide security deposits of 650,000 Taka (less than
US$10,000) in the form of bank drafts or bonds to the BMET. (NOTE:
The MEWOE is seeking to have this increased to 1.5M Taka or USD
22,000. END NOTE.) If a recruiting company is shut down, the
performance bonds are liquidated for payment of compensation to
aggrieved workers, who may be victims of trafficking. Between
January 2007 and January 2008 a total of five recruiting agencies
were shut down, and four prosecution cases filed against labor
recruiting agencies. (Prior to 2007, no cases were filed against
labor recruiters.) In March 2007, the head of the Bangladesh
Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) was
arrested because his own labor recruiting company was alleged to be
overcharging recruited laborers; he and the entire executive
committee of BAIRA were forced to step down.

-- D. Under the Repression of Women and Children Prevention Act as
amended in 2003, the penalty for rape is a life sentence with hard
labor, and a fine. If a rape corresponds with the death of the rape
victim (aggravated murder), the sentence can range from mandatory
life imprisonment to the death penalty. The penalty for sexual abuse
ranges from three to ten years of hard labor as well as fines.
These penalties are equivalent in severity to the crimes of
trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.

-- E. Prostitution is decriminalized for women over the age of 18.
(See above cited laws on prostitution, pimping, brothels, and
trafficking.) The punishment for pimps is ten years to life
imprisonment. The minimum age of 18 for legal female prostitution
can easily be circumvented by false statements of age. The
government rarely prosecuted procurers of minors (no prosecution
data is available for this crime). Local NGOs estimated the total
number of female prostitutes in Bangladesh to be approximately
100,000. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimated in 2004 that
there were 10,000 underage girls used in commercial sexual
exploitation in the country, but other estimates placed the figure
as high as 29,000.

-- F. From April 2007 to February 2008 the GOB investigated 107
trafficking cases, arrested 81 people on trafficking-related
charges, and initiated 94 cases (multiple persons per case is
possible). During this period, 29 cases were concluded. The courts
issued 15 convictions, with 11 sentences of life imprisonment, and 4
sentences of lesser prison terms. (Within the past year, the courts
issued no death sentences for TIP related convictions.) This leaves
14 acquittals.

Bangladeshi law treats certain types of cases as acquittals that in
other jurisdictions would likely be treated as mistrials. Sources
including MOHA and NGOs report that many TIP cases are settled out

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of court, or witnesses are not showing up in court, based on
settlements made outside of the legal system, which are normally
informal arrangements involving cash payments (technically, these
arrangements are prosecutable against the person offering the
inducements). Since these cases are counted as acquittals, it
distorts the reality of the number of actual findings of defendants
being innocent. There is no mechanism for plea bargaining in
trafficking cases, and imposing only a fine is not a sentencing

One reason out-of-court settlements (generally informal, in the form
of cash payments) may be preferred by TIP victims is the extended
time requirements for a full case, which can take 2 to 5 years for
resolution, on average. Given the possibility of extensive
procedural delays, victims and their families may choose an
immediate pay-off to the prospect of receiving justice many years
later. The social stigma associated with trafficking situations is
another reason victims may prefer a quick resolution of the case.

In 2007, the GOB continued investigations and prosecution of cases
involving labor recruiters who made knowingly fraudulent or
deceptive offers. In early 2007, as part of a wider anti-corruption
effort, investigators uncovered linkages between recruitment
agencies and other corruption cases. Investigations are still
on-going in many of these cases. Following through on investigations
started in early 2007, between January 2007 and January 2008 a total
of five recruiting agencies have been shut down, and four
prosecution cases filed against labor recruiting agencies. (Prior to
2007, no cases were filed against labor recruiters.)

The Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment is taking
proactive steps to reduce opportunities for the deception and
exploitation of expatriate workers. When negotiating a new deal to
send expatriate workers to South Korea, the two governments agreed
to eliminate altogether the role of recruitment agencies and to
instead have the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare recruit the workers

MEWOE officials note in some cases of labor trafficking abroad,
agents may induce returnee victims to not file cases against them,
in exchange for priority treatment and placement in "good" work
environments, with legitimate contracts.

-- G. In 2007 the GOB continued implementation of trafficking
courses for the National Police Academy, reaching a total of 3,211
police officers. In 2007, IOM provided TIP training for a total of
approximately 16 Bangladeshi diplomats, and to 32 land-port
immigration officials. The GOB continued working with USAID to
develop and provide specialized TIP training for police officers and
court inspectors.

-- H. The GOB coordinates with other governments in the
investigation, repatriation and rehabilitation of trafficking
victims: the repatriation of Bangladeshi camel jockeys best
exemplifies a systematic cooperation effort. The GOB and the
Government of India are collaborating on a joint action plan to
repatriate child trafficking victims. Bangladesh claims it has
completed its requirements, and is now waiting for action from the

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Indian side on implementation of the plan. Unofficially,
Bangladeshi Police report good cooperation with India's Border
Security Forces on issues of trafficking and cross-border movements.

-- I. There are no pending extradition requests involving
trafficking. There is no constitutional provision prohibiting
extradition. No further progress has been reported by civil society
groups who entered into discussions with the GOB in prior years on
the possibility of signing bilateral TIP extradition treaties as
part of an initiative by the South Asian Association for Regional
Cooperation (SAARC) to combat trafficking.

-- J. There is no evidence of systemic government involvement in or
tolerance for trafficking.

-- K. In the preceding reporting year, a total four cases involving
20 government officials possibly complicit in trafficking activities
were filed or pending. In the past year, from these four cases, two
cases remain pending (the other two cases did not result in formal
charges being filed). Investigations into 20 government officials
were conducted, out of which 10 persons were acquitted, and 10
persons remain under investigation.

In November of 2007, five employees of the Bureau of Manpower
Employment and Training (BMET) were arrested by the RAB on
allegations of being bribed by recruiting agencies. While not an
explicit trafficking violation, these arrests demonstrate resolve by
the Government of Bangladesh in addressing corruption in the labor
export sector.

In the fall of 2007, a series of incidents involving stranded
Bangladeshi workers occurred in Malaysia (workers would arrive in
country and not be picked up by the company for which they were
contracted to work). The media reported allegations of complicity
between members of the Bangladesh High Commission in Kuala Lumpur
and labor agencies. To review the problems, the GOB sent a high
level team to Malaysia to investigate the situation. Some GOB
officials shared with post their suspicions that bribery of High
Commission officials had been occurring. Although insufficient
evidence was generated for filing formal cases, the entire labor
wing staff at the High Commission (including MEWOE officials) was
reprimanded and replaced.

-- L. GOB officials involved with TIP enforcement reported that
Bangladesh's participants in UN Peace Keeping Operations (PKO) are
not involved in any trafficking activities. The GOB prides itself on
its involvement in UN PKOs, which are financially beneficial to
individual participants and the GOB. However, Embassy sources report
that military disciplinary processes of individuals serving on PKO
missions have occurred in the past (no timeframe available). No
information is available to detail if Bangladeshi PKO troops were
punished for trafficking related activities.

-- M. Bangladesh is not a known source or destination for child sex

4. Protection and Assistance to Victims (Paragraph 29 of REFTEL).

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-- A. Bangladesh is a source country for trafficking victims. There
are no reported cases of foreign trafficking victims being brought
to Bangladesh.

-- B. The GOB supports shelter homes and one-stop crisis centers in
Dhaka hospitals that in cooperation with NGOs provide legal,
medical, and psychiatric services to victims of trafficking. Victim
services are provided at NGO-run shelters. Since 2004, the GOB has
referred 659 victims of internal trafficking for such services. A
total of five confirmed trafficking victims are currently with
government shelters. The total number for the entire 2007 period is
unavailable, but is likely higher. No information is available on
the total number of trafficking victims currently in NGO homes:
however, for NGO homes supported by USAID, an estimated 400
trafficking victims have been assisted.

-- C. The GOB does not fund NGOs to provide victim services, but
there is good coordination and cooperation between the government
and the NGOs. In some cases, MEWOE works with foreign NGOs to assist
expatriate workers. The GOB pays approximately 1.4M Taka (appx. USD
20,000) each year for its membership in the UN-affiliated IOM.

-- D. Proactive identification of persons and communities facing a
high-risk of trafficking is conducted in response to specific
events. For example, following last year's Cyclone Sidr, the police
were notified to be on the lookout for women and children who may be
trafficked due to economic deprivation in cyclone-affected areas.
The formal process for referring victims of internal trafficking to
shelter homes and NGOs is through the courts, or referral by the
police or MOHA officials.

Community involvement in anti-trafficking committees and pro-active
work done by many local governments is also essential in identifying
at risk persons.

In the case of the camel jockeys, a process was set up to send the
boys first to a shelter in the UAE and then to one of two shelters
in Bangladesh depending on the age and needs of the victim. Older
boys who wanted only vocational training went to the Dhaka Ahsania
Mission shelter, while younger boys, boys who required Bangla
language and culture classes and boys who were interested in
following an academic course of study went to the Bangladesh
National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) shelter.

-- E. Prostitution is decriminalized for women over 18 in
Bangladesh. However, post is aware of no specific efforts by the GOB
to screen for trafficking victims from among women involved
(legally) with prostitution.

-- F. The rights of victims are generally respected, and women are
not punished by the GOB for having been trafficked. Only when no
space is available in a shelter home will a female victim (as a ward
of the police or court) have to stay in a jail. Since Bangladesh is
not a destination country for trafficking, deportations and
immigration fines do not apply.

-- G. Police anti-trafficking units encourage victims and witnesses

DHAKA 00000290 012 OF 017

to assist in the investigation and prosecution of cases. Since
trials are rarely continuous, and even one witness's testimony may
be heard in a handful of court sessions over a period of months,
this type of support is important for mounting effective
prosecutions. Several NGOs assist and encourage victims to file
civil suits. However, no civil cases have been filed yet.
Witnesses may leave the country with the permission of the court (in
criminal cases) or by informing the court (in civil cases).

Victims of labor trafficking abroad are sometimes able to get
compensation for losses through liquidation of the recruiting
agency's security bonds. The MEWOE "wage earners" fund pays for
lodging abroad and repatriation in some cases.

-- H. The GOB has developed a regional witness and victim protection
protocol in conjunction with IOM. This protocol consists of a
series of policies the GOB has begun implementing, including
protections for trafficking victims and witnesses. The district
police monitoring units cooperate with NGOs in victim and witness
protection during the trial stage.

Internationally and domestically there are government-funded
shelters for trafficking victims. The MEWOE operates four shelter
homes to assist female Bangladeshi workers in Riyadh, Jeddah, Abu
Dhabi and Dubai. They report having three more shelters in Kuala
Lumpur, likely in collaboration with local NGOs. Domestically, the
Ministry of Social Welfare operates six shelters for female and
child victims (including but not exclusive to trafficking victims).
These shelters have a total capacity of 1900 people, and are located
in the divisional headquarter cities of Dhaka (Tongi), Sylhet,
Barisal, Rajshahi, Chittagong, and Bagerhat. In addition, the
Ministry of Women and Children Affairs operated three shelter homes
in Dhaka: two in Lalmatia and one in Gazipur. A current total of
five confirmed trafficking victims are currently with government
shelters. The total number for the entire 2007 period is
unavailable, but is likely higher. No statistic is available on the
total number of trafficking victims currently in NGO homes in
Bangladesh. For NGO homes supported by USAID, an estimated 400
trafficking victims have been assisted in the past year.

Bangladesh's courts and police often refer victims of trafficking to
non-governmental organization (NGO) run shelters. Post works with
four NGO shelter homes: BNWLA in Dhaka, Dhaka Ahsania Mission in
Jessore, TMSS in Bogra, and ACD in Rajshahi. At NGO shelters,
victims typically receive a mix of individual counseling, vocational
training, health care, and legal assistance.

Labor attaches deputed from the Ministry of Expatiate Welfare and
Overseas Employment serve in 12 Bangladeshi diplomatic missions
abroad: Riyadh, Jeddah, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Manama, Doha, Muscat,
Kuwait City, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tripoli, and Seoul (replacing
Tehran). Bangladesh's labor attaches are specially trained and
charged with responsibility for victim assistance. The Ministry of
Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment received 445 complaints
between January 2007 and January 2008. Of these, a total of 281
complaints were addressed. In this period, the total amount of
money distributed to expatriate workers by Ministry of Expatriate
Welfare and Overseas Employment from recruiter's security bonds and

DHAKA 00000290 013 OF 017

fines is calculated to exceed 22 million taka (approximately

-- I. In 2007 the GOB continued implementation of trafficking
courses for the National Police Academy, reaching a total of 3,211
police officers. Also, 32 land-port immigration officials were
provided TIP training, in collaboration with USAID. Training for
government officials focuses on enhancing the capacity of law
enforcement officers to handle TIP cases more efficiently, and to
better protect and assist trafficking victims. The GOB provided
specialized TIP training to its border security forces, the
Bangladesh Rifles (reaching 7,181 members) as well as Ansar and
Village Defense Party forces (reaching 833,778 persons).

In 2007, IOM provided TIP training for 16 Bangladeshi diplomats.
MOHA officials also conducted an all-day roundtable discussion with
IOM on the role of Bangladeshi diplomats in combating TIP. During
this meeting GOB discussed a new MOFA circular entitled "Guidelines
for Bangladesh Missions Abroad to Combat Trafficking in Persons."
This guidance instructed its embassies and consulates on procedures
for assisting victims of TIP, and to develop relationships with
other ministries to help facilitation of assistance to TIP victims.

Labor attaches are deputed from the Ministry of Expatriate Welfare
and Overseas Employment to serve in 12 Bangladeshi diplomatic
missions abroad: Riyadh, Jeddah, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Manama, Doha,
Muscat, Kuwait City, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Tripoli, and Seoul
(replacing Tehran). Bangladesh's labor attaches are specially
trained and charged with responsibilities for victim assistance.
Although driven by a larger agenda of helping all Bangladeshi
expatriate workers, support and advocacy services (for making
complaints in the host country) are also available to victims of

-- J. The GOB works closely with NGOs to provide medical assistance,
shelter, and legal and psychiatric services to trafficking victims.
Abroad, at least four shelter homes have been established by the
MEWOE, specifically to assist female Bangladeshi workers in Riyadh,
Jeddah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. At these homes expatriate workers can
receive on an emergency basis food, shelter and arrangements for
repatriation. In Malaysia, MEWOE reports there are three shelter
homes for both male and female expatriate workers; these homes are
likely partially supported by local NGOs. In all situations,
MEWOE's Labor Attaches are charged to provide advocacy services and
to assist with the provision of legal assistance to workers facing
abuses or contract disputes.

The GOB's rehabilitation program for repatriated camel jockeys is
being funded by the Government of United Arab Emirates (UAE). Since
August of 2005, collaborative efforts between the GOB, UAE, and NGOs
have resulted in the repatriation of 199 boys trafficked to the
middle-east to serve as camel jockeys. The boys have been housed in
government of NGO-run shelters, and have been provided vocational
training and compensation packages of 104,000 taka (USD 1,500). In
conjunction with UNICEF, the GOB worked on a second phase to ensure
the sustainable rehabilitation and reintegration of returned camel
jockeys. The second phase will address all former camel jockeys

DHAKA 00000290 014 OF 017

(since 1993), including 345 former victims who returned to
Bangladesh prior to the 2005 repatriation program. Camel jockeys who
suffered handicapping injuries during the period of their
exploitation will receive compensation packages of 300,000 to
500,000 taka (USD 4,400 to 7,200).

-- K. Bangladesh has several NGOs working on TIP issues and
assisting trafficking victims:
-Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association: shelter, legal,
psychiatric services;
-Ahsania Mission: shelter, legal, vocational services;
-Association for Community Development: shelter and psychiatric
-Rights Jessore: shelter and psychiatric services;
-Savior Jessore: shelter and psycho social services;
-IOM: training for diplomats and police, inter-agency coordination;
-UNICEF: assisted in repatriation of camel jockeys, advocacy and
training on trafficking issues; bilateral government activities with
Bangladesh and India;
-INCIDIN: child rights, shelter for street children;
-The Daywalka Foundation: research, training, TIP policy advocacy.

5. Prevention (Paragraph 30 from REFTEL).

-- A. The GOB acknowledges the problem of trafficking in persons.

-- B. The GOB continues to implement an extensive, nation-wide
anti-trafficking campaign. From January 2007 through December 2007,
the GOB disseminated TIP messages in various forms, including public
service announcements (PSAs), dramas, discussions, interviews and
songs on the state-owned Bangladesh television (BTV), the only
terrestrial TV channel in Bangladesh. They reported a total of 3,218
individual spots dealing with TIP in 2007. The GOB also used the
state-owned Bangla Betar radio network for TIP outreach during the
same period. (NOTE: The reported estimated radio audience of 10,534
people for TIP outreach seems low. END NOTE)

The Ministry of Religious Affairs continued anti-trafficking
outreach in 2007 including training religious teachers on TIP issues
(with USAID assistance, approximately 600 religious teachers were
training on TIP); they report reaching a total audience of 364,844.
The Ministry of Social Welfare, reported reaching a total population
of 6,385,679 people through discussions, consultations, training,
motivation, rallies and posters. Ministry of Women and Children
Affairs reached a total population of 508,406 persons with TIP
messaging. The Ministry of Primary and Mass Education reported
reaching a total population of 14,602,055 persons with TIP

The TIP Monitoring Cell reports that anti-TIP messaging was included
in monthly public outreach sessions conducted by Superintendents of
Police, District Commissioners, and Upazilla (county) heads in each
of 64 districts. Conservative estimates indicate that at least 4
million people received TIP awareness messages through these
outreach efforts in 2007. (Members of the Police, Bangladesh Rifles,
ANSAR and Village Defense Parties also received anti-trafficking
training: a total of 843,532 persons.)

DHAKA 00000290 015 OF 017

The GOB estimates that it reached a general public audience of
25,860,984 people with anti-TIP messaging. Note that this estimate
excludes mass media (TV and radio) penetration. It also excludes
religious teachers, government officials, police, and security
forces who are included in training figures.

-- C. There is a strong working relationship on anti-trafficking
issues among government officials, NGOs, and other elements of civil
society. Officials from various government offices collaborate in
efforts at prevention, victim protection, and prosecutions. A joint
government-NGO coordination committee meets monthly to report on
progress made in combating trafficking. The MOHA also holds a
monthly meeting with the Embassy to provide updates on their
anti-trafficking efforts.

-- D. Since June 2004, up to December 2007, immigration and customs
officials have stopped more than 3,800 potential trafficking victims
at the border, mostly at Zia International Airport in Dhaka. In the
2007 period, 682 potential trafficking victims were stopped at
Dhaka's Zia International Airport, and one person was stopped at the
Hili, Dinajpur land port border with India. The government
instituted a three-stage screening process at all international
airports. Land border screening remains weak, though the GOB has
begun training land-port immigration officials to sensitize them to
trafficking issues. The MOHA now provides updated numbers of
potential victims stopped at the borders and analyzes them with the
assistance of donor agencies and NGOs to try to identify trafficking

-- E. The central mechanism for coordination and communication among
GOB ministries and civil society representatives is a monthly
inter-ministerial trafficking-in-persons committee meeting,
involving all relevant GOB ministries. Immediately following the
internal GOB meetings, a GOB-NGO meeting occurs, which typically
includes the MOHA Secretary, Deputy Attorney General, the TIP
Monitoring Cell head, and representatives from other GOB ministries.
The Home Affairs Secretary serves as the chairperson for both of
these monthly meetings, and is the senior working-level GOB official
on trafficking issues.

Although not specifically focused on TIP issues, the GOB also has an
Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) which has been substantially
strengthened under the current Caretaker Government. The ACC has
pursued many high level cases including against two former prime
ministers. Some of the cases within their purview may involve
individuals that were engaged in labor trafficking and related
abuses. However, we have no definitive information on trafficking
or labor violations as a specific charge included within any given
corruption cases.

-- F. The Ministry of Women and Children Affairs announced its
National Anti-Trafficking Strategic Plan for Action (NATSPA) on
February 18, 2006. However, this plan has not yet been implemented
by MOWCA. Given this lack of progress, a separate ministry, MOHA,
has over the past four months been working on developing its own
action plan, the National Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in

DHAKA 00000290 016 OF 017

Women and Children (NPACTWC). There has been some discussion at the
steering committee level regarding the possibility of expanding the
scope of plan to include trafficking in men as well, which would
then include labor trafficking issues in addition to sexual

-- G. Post is not aware of any actions taken by the GOB to reduce
the demand for commercial sex acts. However, the Constitution of
Bangladesh includes the provision of Article 18(2): the State shall
adopt effective measures to prevent prostitution.

-- H. Bangladesh is not a known source or destination for child sex

-- I. The GOB reported that troops and police selected for PKO
missions receive additional training on proper conduct while abroad.

6. Heroes

Post nominates the Government of Bangladesh's TIP Monitoring Cell,
which effectively supports both anti-TIP field activities and
continual improvement in the policy and strategic approach to TIP
issues in Bangladesh. On behalf of the 9 officers serving in the
cell, post submits the name of the head of the Cell and the deputy:

Mr. Mozammel Hossain (President Police Medal), Assistant Inspector
General, Crime 1 & 3, Direct In-Charge of the Cell, has been leading
the TIP Monitoring Cell since December 2005.

Ms. Sabiha Khanam, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP). She has
been with the TIP Monitoring Cell since its formation in 2004.
Before joining the cell she served as Inspector at the Women and
Children Repression Prevention Cell in the Police Headquarters.

There are seven other police officers in the Cell who assist in
collecting TIP data from the local levels and with coordinating
other GOB TIP activities.

7. Best Practices

The establishment of national TIP Monitoring Cell at the Police
Headquarters in Bangladesh should be considered a best practice.
Since 2004, the Cell has collected, maintained, and monitored data
on all trafficking cases in Bangladesh. The Cell has also conducted
coordination activities.

The TIP Monitoring Cell monitors the movement and arrest of
criminals involved in human trafficking, rescue, recovery and
rehabilitation of TIP victims, prosecution of TIP cases and the
progress of disposal of TIP cases. The Cell coordinates TIP
prevention activities by relevant agencies at airports and the
land-ports. Police monitoring units at each of the 64 district
headquarters provide on a daily basis the central Cell with TIP
statistics including progress on arrests, adjudication of cases,
sentences for convicted traffickers and status of rescued victims.
The Cell compiles and prepares periodic reports for the Ministry of
Home Affairs and other TIP committees.

DHAKA 00000290 017 OF 017

This centralized monitoring effort directly enables focused
management of law enforcement on TIP issues. The reporting process
creates an incentive for anti-TIP action at lower levels and
highlights its importance. By serving as a source for current data
on TIP trends, the TIP Monitoring Cell also enables better policy
formation and high-level decision making. The Monitoring Cell model
is replicable for inducing concerted action on any law-enforcement
issue requiring inter-ministerial coordination (for example, child
labor.) This model could also be assessed for potential replication
in other countries.

© Scoop Media

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