U.S. Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons John Cotton Richmond visited Bangladesh August 3-6 to engage Government of Bangladesh (GOB) officials and partners to discuss ways to combat trafficking in persons and encourage measurable progress in implementing the recommendations in the Department of State’s annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report.
Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R. Miller joined Ambassador Richmond for meetings in Dhaka with government officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Ministry of Law, Justice, and Parliamentary Affairs; the Ministry of Home Affairs; the Ministry of Social Welfare; and the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment. Ambassadors Miller and Richmond applauded the passage of the 2018-2022 National Action Plan and emphasized the importance of prosecution, protection, and prevention in combating human trafficking. They discussed concerns with traffickers exploiting legal recruitment fees to trap migrant workers in debt-based coercion, and the need to identify internal forced labor and sex trafficking, increase accountability for traffickers, and provide victim support services.
In Cox’s Bazar, Ambassadors Miller and Richmond reviewed with the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner vulnerabilities to trafficking specific to the Rohingya population, steps the GOB can take to limit these vulnerabilities, and best practices for handling these trafficking cases. They also met with the International Organization for Migration and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees protection teams to expand on steps the GOB can take to limit vulnerabilities to human trafficking for the Rohingya population and more comprehensively address related human-trafficking cases.
The delegation also met with trafficking victims at the USAID-funded Young Power in Social Action TIP Shelter and heard about the reintegration services the shelter provides to survivors.
They had lunch with a group of law students where they discussed the importance of effective prosecution in trafficking in persons cases; the differences between smuggling and human trafficking, whether internal or external; and the importance of the annual TIP Report and implications of Bangladesh’s third consecutive Tier 2 Watch List ranking.
Ambassadors Miller and Richmond engaged international partners and the diplomatic community, including other chiefs of mission, at events throughout the visit on the importance of combating human trafficking.