Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program (OKUP) has organized a sharing meeting for district level stakeholders with the aim to reduce the risk of irregular migration and human trafficking by sea route on 30 January, 2017 at BRDB Hall Room, Narsingdi. At this meeting Mr. Monjur E Elahi, Upazilla Chairman, Narsingdi sadar was the chief guest while Mr. Selim Reja, Upazilla Nirbahi Officer attended as special guest. Upazilla vice Chairman Ms. Umme Salma Maya, Assistant Director, DEMO Mr. Zahidul Haque, Mr. Shakil Monsoor, National Program Officer, IOM were also presented their valuable speeches. Around 45 participants from different government and non government organizations, journalists, migrant forum members were present at the meeting which was organized by OKUP with the support from IOM. The objective of the meeting was to share the findings from union level consultations and make them aware about the bad impact of sailing to Malaysia through sea route. Meantime the meeting was aimed to make the concerned authorities informed about risks of sailing to Malaysia by boat and encourage them to take necessary steps to stop human trafficking within.
At the early beginning of this meeting, Program Manager OKUP, A A Mamun gave an over view about the specific aim of this sharing meeting with the stakeholders. Over the years thousands of people sailing to Malaysia by boats are trapped to human trafficking and statistically Narshingdi has been one of trafficked prone areas for the high rate of migration through sea route. Assistant Director of DEMO Narshingdi Mr. Zahidul Haque, in his speech highlighted the importance of disseminating proper information about the steps of safe migration. He encouraged the mass to spread information about the existing DEMO supports which will be far effective way to ensure mass awareness regarding safe migration.
In his discussion, Mr. Shakil Monsoor, National Program Officer, IOM empathized on the issues of safe migration and how people are becoming vulnerable during sailing to Malaysia by sea boat. While talking about the Andaman sea crisis he mentioned that more than 2830 had been repatriated by IOM and among them more than 363 migrants were from Narshingdi. With the help of different Government organizations and NGOs including OKUP we can provide different IEC materials to local people of Narshigdi about the risk of unsafe migration and consequences of human trafficking, said the executive director of Palli Unnayan Sangstha Mr. Rezaual Islam Sarker.
Speaking on the event, the chief guest Mr. Monjur E Elahi, Upazilla Chairman, Narsingdi sadar shared some of his experiences regarding peoples ignorance of taking risk during migration. He believed that if we would be able to provide information regarding legal ways of migration we would be able to stop the huge incidents of human trafficking through migration by sea route. Remittance from the migrant workers is a huge part of our financial solvency and its right time for us to look up for the better services to migrants, pointed by the special guest, Upazilla Nirbahi Officer Mr. Selim Reja. An open discussion carried forward to know the experiences and recommendation from respective migrant forum members, journalists and returnee migrant workers at this meeting. In conclusion, valuable suggestions from the stakeholders and learning from the participants at this meeting would further help to understand the root causes of higher number of people sailing to Malaysia from Narshigndi and shall be effective to make a framework to protect this large number of people from trafficking.