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“Engaging youth to fight human trafficking”
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“Engaging youth to fight human trafficking”

Mahdy Hassan article pic Youth Ambassadors movement for stop human trafficking

Mahdy Hassan picHuman trafficking is a tragic reality, but Mahdy Hassan, 24, a Correspondent from Dhaka in Bangladesh, says that education, awareness and cooperation can defeat trafficking and the human rights abuse it brings.

A man from Bangladesh who I will call Mr. Anis went Oman, a Middle Eastern country, as a victim of human trafficking.

Being the bread winning person of the family, he had to feed several mouths in his family and often strove hard to beat the poverty. As a day labourer the maintenance of this hugely extended family seemed almost impossible for him. Incidentally, he met a local human trafficker who lured him to go to Oman with a promise of a wealthy life.

“I cannot recall how many days I passed without food and water and how many times I lost my conscience”, he expressed.

Human trafficking, a 32 billion dollar industry[1], is heinous organised crime that affects each country of the world. It creates a devastating face of humanity. In mid-2015, international media made headlines about the mass grave of the victims of human trafficking from Bangladesh and Myanmar in the jungles of Thailand[2] and Malaysia[3].

The victims of human trafficking cannot enjoy any human rights including right to life, right to food, shelter, freedom from torture, freedom of movement, or choice of employment. To prevent the abuse of rights for victims of human trafficking, youth can take local level initiative to create awareness against human trafficking and promote ‘safe migration’.

The youth of Bangladesh are working to fight human trafficking in their respective communities with the help of development stakeholders like Relief International (RI). It coordinates youth groups to organise different promotional events such as court yard meetings, processions, organising street drama and folk songs, and other community culturally-based activities to increase awareness about human trafficking and to promote safe migration.

These motivated youth work as watch-dog in their communities so that no one can be the victim of human trafficking. They believe that if the mass of people know about safe migration processes, human trafficking will be automatically reduced. Studies show that the people of South Asian countries become the victims of human trafficking because of lack of knowledge about safe migration process. For instance, nowadays a number of people from Bangladesh are going to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Australia for overseas employment through the sea route of Cox’s Bazar, a dangerous transit for human trafficking. They don’t even know that the sea route is not a legal way to go abroad.

To empower youth engaging in anti-trafficking at the community level, Relief International (RI), a U.S. based non-profit humanitarian global organisation, is working in ten districts of Bangladesh. It involves more than 600 youth who are known as RI Anti-trafficking Youth Ambassadors to fight human trafficking in their communities. The project under the U.S. Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons is funded for three years and named “Combating Human Trafficking in Bangladesh through the Promotion of Safe Migration and Protection”.

RI implements the project in partnership with community based organisations and local NGOs. RI also collaborated with Winnock International (WI) that is also mobilising youth group known as ‘Peer Leaders’ in 25 districts of Bangladesh to engage them in increasing awareness against human trafficking and promoting safe migration.

This youth initiative can be replicated in all countries to take action in fighting human trafficking. About 1.2. billion youth aged 15 – 24 currently live in the world. If they come forward, the traffickers cannot victimise any person in all the world.  We, the youth, can work in our own work place, family, educational institutions and respective communities. We know that charity begins at home. To cooperate with youth, stakeholders from all levels should come forward to mobilise and empower them with leadership skills that will also be a future investment for a peaceful world.

Reach me on Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/mahdylawdu

[1] United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), ‘Human trafficking: organized crime and the multibillion dollar sale of people’, < http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2012/July/human-trafficking_-organized-crime-and-the-multibillion-dollar-sale-of-people.html > last visited on 24th July 2016.

[2] Reuters, 2 May 2015, ‘ Thai mass grave held bodies of 26 suspected trafficking victims’ <> last visited on 24th July 2016.

[3] The Guardian, 23 August 2015, ‘Malaysia finds mass graves of 24 suspected human trafficking victims’ < https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/23/malaysia-finds-mass-graves-of-24-suspected-human-trafficking-victims > lasted visited on 24th July 2016.

Photo Credit: Relief International (RI)

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About me:

Currently, I am working with Relief International, Bangladesh Country Office as TIP Program Associate to assist in implementing U.S. Department of State TIP Office funded project. In addition, I am working as a member of Commonwealth Youth Human Rights and Democracy Network (CYHRDN).

I completed my LL.B. and LL.M. degree from University of Dhaka. I love to write and to conduct research on different human rights and development issues and aspects. I dream a world without hunger, poverty and exploitation.

 

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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