The foreign minister was speaking at the national consultation on ‘Combating Human Trafficking in the Context of Technology Use and its Abuse’, organized by the Public Security Division and the Bangladesh UN Network on Migration at a city hotel, BSS reports.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan and high government officials as well as representatives from foreign diplomatic missions and international organizations were also present.
Dr Momen said Bangladesh missions abroad are engaged to create awareness among the expatriates to help them not to fall victims to human trafficking.
“We remain vigilant to protect our citizens from falling victims to trafficking – fraudulent and forced labour – in any forms,” he said.
The foreign minister said his ministry launched a dynamic mobile application named DUTABASH to provide consular and welfare services at home and abroad.
In case of emergency support, he said a citizen can press the SOS button for 3 seconds and an emergency support request will be forwarded to a Bangladesh Mission with his or her pre-registered information.
He said any incident of human trafficking abroad can also be reported through hotline numbers as all missions abroad have a dedicated hotline number, seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Momen said the foreign ministry conducts rescue operations and arranges the repatriation of the victims of trafficking in person in coordination with the missions abroad and relevant government agencies.
He informed that, since September 2021, the government has repatriated around 2500 victims of trafficking.
Regarding awareness building, he referred to the recent town hall meeting held by MOFA in Shariatpur and similar programme in Sylhet; and informed that MOFA will hold such awareness building activities in other districts too.
The foreign minister reiterated Bangladesh government’s ‘zero-tolerance’ policy against human trafficking, and emphasized the need of having latest modern technology by the law enforcers to combat human trafficking.
Recalling that the government stopped high-speed internet facilities in Rohingya camps to reduce human trafficking and other trans-boundary crimes, he said, however, this has to be reopened as per the demand of western countries.
Depicting Bangladesh’s ratification of a number of international instruments on human trafficking as well as enacting necessary national laws, he said, the government is serious about its international commitments and national obligations related to combating human trafficking.
Momen underscored the need to have a comprehensive view on illegal migration and human trafficking and said that the existing economic disparity among developed and developing countries is indeed the root cause of large scale unsafe and irregular migration.
“Therefore, we all, especially the developed countries, come forward with adequate resources, not only advice, to help reduce the gap of economic disparity and job opportunity between the rich and poor countries,” he said.
The foreign minister urged the developed nations to become more humane to all migrants, and to work closely with developing countries to enhance safe and orderly migration.