27 May 2015
With more than two dozen human-smuggling syndicates in the coastal regions of Bangladesh and Myanmar taking boat people to other countries in South-east Asia, human smuggling will remain a key challenge for the region. In recent times, Thailand has taken a tough stance against human smuggling and trafficking in people, but the responses from Bangladesh and Myanmar remain inadequate and they do not have a long-term strategy.
Unless Bangladesh and Myanmar take an effective stance against human smuggling, such problems will persist. For a sustainable solution, both countries should consider a three-pronged strategy: First, to scale up institutional capacity to tackle human smuggling; second, to raise social awareness through the mass media; and third, to address the socio-economic problems that are marginalising a vulnerable population.
The failure to check human trafficking is a capacity issue in both Bangladesh and Myanmar. Controlling human smuggling requires a sound understanding of the local dynamics of the problem, ensuring good intelligence and teamwork across multiple agencies.
… Iftekharul Bashar is an associate research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. This commentary first appeared in RSIS Commentary.
ICPVTR / Online / Print
Last updated on 18/11/2015