Human Rights Watch conducted research for this report in Bangladesh in December 2002, as well as by phone and electronic mail in early 2003. The field research took place in Dhaka, Rajshahi, Tangail, and Sylhet. Human Rights Watch identified witnesses through organizations of sex workers, organizations of men who have sex with men, needle exchange programs, and drug rehabilitation programs. Human Rights Watch conducted in-depth interviews with some thirty-four female sex workers, seventeen men who have sex with men, and twelve former and current injection drug users. Many of the names have been changed to protect witnesses. Pseudonyms do not necessarily reflect the religion of the witnesses.
Human Rights Watch also spoke with staff persons of human rights organizations, health and development nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank, and scholars, lawyers, and doctors in the country. Human Rights Watch attempted to contact the Home and Health Ministries of the Government of Bangladesh by phone and by written inquiries but neither ministry replied. Human Rights Watch later sent copies of the unanswered letters and a request for a meeting to the Bangladesh Mission to the United Nations in New York, and followed up the written request by phone. The Bangladesh Mission also did not respond.