June 19, 2013 | 12:41 PM (BD Time)
19 June, 2013 Wednesday
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Abject poverty induces human trafficking
Poverty happens to be the prime factor behind woman and child trafficking from villages of the country's frontier areas, according to a recent study by Bangladesh National Women Lawyers' Association (BNWLA).
Other major factors behind the trafficking have been identified as illiteracy, landlessness, over-population and low levels of income.
The study shows that the organised gangs of traffickers take advantage of the crushing poverty of their victims and lure them away with prospects of job opportunities.
The UNICEF-aided study was conducted by BNWLA between October 1998 and May 1999 in 10 villages of three bordering thanas of three districts of Bangladesh. The three thanas are Teknaf of Cox's Bazar, Sharsha of Jessore and Patgram of Lalmonirhat district. The BNWLA study also identified four main routes used by the traffickers.
A total of 51 people - 31 children and 20 women - were trafficked from the 10 villages during the given period. The percentage of male children was about 29 per cent, while girls comprised about 70 per cent of the victims.
The study revealed that about 22 per cent of the female children belonged to 13-16 years' age, a reality that indicates higher 'demand for adolescent girls'.
About 42 per cent of female victims (aged between 11 and 16) were recruited through 'offers of marriage' while 28 per cent were recruited through job offers, it said.
Only 5 per cent of the women have primary education while the remaining 95 per cent are illiterate. About 52 per cent of the women victims have been divorced, separated or widowed, according to the study. Divorcees, estranged wives or widows are more frequently trafficked than married women.
The study said that about 90 per cent of the women were household workers or unemployed. Most of these victims were wed-locked with men who had very low incomes. Families of 61 per cent of the victims were 'landless'.
Overpopulation was one more important reason behind women and children trafficking in Bangladesh. According to the study, about 59 per cent of the victims came from big families, 25 per cent from medium sized families and only six per cent from small families.
The study identified four main routes through which the victims from the villages of the mentioned three thanas are being trafficked.
Traffickers have been using the following routes to traffic the victims from Teknaf:
From Cox's Bazar the victims are brought to Gabtali bus terminal in Dhaka by road and from Dhaka they are taken to Sathkhira and Jessore to the southwest and the northwestern Hilli border of Dinajpur by bus.
The traffickers of Jessore have been using the border of Sharsha for trafficking. The names of border 'exit zone' in Sharsha are Benapole, Sadipur, Gatipara, Rudropur, Putkhali, Salbahan and Sikarpur.
Traffickers are using the border of Burimari for trafficking from Patgram. The border exit zone of Patgram is Upharmara, Padhanath, Azizpur, Bamandal, Islampur and Khengti.
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