Bangladesh yet to get rid of slavery  

Marksman     | Published: July 24, 2018 22:17:36 | Updated: July 25, 2018 21:45:45

That  half a million Bangladeshis  are  living  in a state of slavery, according  to an international survey stands in  stark  contrast  to the improving socio-economic indicators  the country  has been known  for, consistently. And, that's where it is concerning and   calls for a closer scrutiny   of  what  is being termed  'modern slavery'.

On a   comparative scale though , with  countries  in  the region and  beyond,   we  figure  better  on 2018  Global Slavery  Index. The Australian-based  human rights group Walk Free  Foundation published  the index-rather belatedly,  we venture  to add, benchmarking it to the state of  slavery quantified at 40 million as of 2016.

At any rate, Walk Free   in tandem with the International Labour  Organisation (ILO) has ranked   Bangladesh  92nd among  167 nations worldwide. And, among the 28 countries  in Asia and the Pacific, Bangladesh is placed 19th.          

"Modern  slavery', is a first world problem", said  Andrew Forrest, a co-founder of Walk Free. He also provides an  antidote to the malady, adding, "We  are the consumers. We can fix it."

This point is reinforced by the researchers who   warned that 'consumers in affluent countries  may be purchasing billions  of dollars worth of products manufactured with slave labour, including computers, mobile phones and clothing.'

Other countries  with the highest rates of slavery were  the central African Republic, Afghanistan, South Sudan  and Pakistan. Most of these countries  are marked by 'conflict,  with breakdowns in rule of law, displacement and a lack of physical security,' the report stated.

It is worthwhile to note that  the survey  found out  that "Bangladesh is not in the list of such  source countries."

Yet since it has to do with a stamp of slavery, it is shaming  for a country to have an imprint of  it,  degree of  'enslavement' notwithstanding.    With the march of time , civilization and liberalism,  slavery in any form or shape is   an anachronism  whose time is over.     Because  we  think, even if  all of us may not believe   it that  we  have come a long way  since the days of       primitive slave trade      and  indentured labour. However,  the prefix 'modern' to slavery    given in the report    doesn't dignify it; on the contrary, it  smacks of   wickedness   of  an inherently   exploitative  system.  In whatever form or shape slavery appears ,it is reprehensible. In our case  those who are  shackled in a slavery trap is just half a million, so that  it  can be banished with  relative ease compared  to  some other countries where it is entrenched and pervasive.

We  share  the concern expressed over the   plight of Rohingyas. In resonant endorsement of Bangladesh government's  mitigating  response to slavery conditions the Rohingyas  were thrown into. But unfortunately a 'B rating' has been given 'warning  that the Rohingya refugees living in camps in Bangladesh  are vulnerable to exploitation.'

We would  much rather  echo the views expressed in the report to the effect: "Since conclusive evidence began to emerge in August 2017 of fresh campaigns  of ethnic cleansing  of the Rohingya, the international community has done little to act."

 That nub of the issue has to be addressed with an  effective international  will  being  galvanised  and brought to bear on Myanmar  for     speedy, safe and dignified repatriation and resettlement of the persecuted Myanmar nationals   in  their own country.            

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