Yasmin was lured to the Middle East with the promise of a job in a garment factory with a monthly salary of Tk30,000. But as soon as she set foot there, she realized that she had been sold to a family.
She was abused by all three men in the family that had bought her from her traffickers. Yasmin tried committing suicide several times when she could not bear the physical and mental torture after three months.
She did not know whether she would be able to go back alive.
The victim finally managed to escape from the house but landed in jail. She was finally permitted to return home after she had arranged some money.
By the time she came back, her husband was already dead and she owed money to a lot of people.
Those dealing with immigrant-related issues said the trafficking of women is going on in the pretext of sending domestic help to the Middle East through 'legal' procedures.
They said the women were often lured by promises of dream jobs. If this goes unchecked, a large number of women would likely be trafficked 'legally'. They said the embassies should take effective supervisory measures.
In 2015, 20,952 women went to Saudi Arabia after the country signed an agreement with Bangladesh to send female domestic workers.
However, in the first quarter of this year, 20,036 women have gone to the Middle East country.
In the last three years, 60,000 female workers have been sent to Jordan, 50,000 to UAE, 40,000 to Lebanon, 30,000 to Oman and 17,000 to Qatar.
Most of these women did not get their promised jobs but were instead subjected to intense physical torture when they wanted to return home.
Those who returned home said that they were not employed in any job.
A TIB research found that around 90% of Bangladeshi workers were becoming victims of corruption when going abroad.
Iftekharuzzaman, TIB’s executive director, dubbed the migration process “broker dependent.”
"The workers are becoming victims of brokers and corruptions at every stage from getting visas to receiving BMET clearance certificate," he added.
Shariful Hasan, head of Brac's migration programme, said the people are aware what women are forced to do in Saudi Arabia as a domestic worker.
"Why are we sending our women there where we won't even send our own daughters?
"Most of these women have been subjected to torture. They have complained about their ill treatment but no steps have been taken in this regard," he said.
National Human Rights Commission chief Reazul Hoque said there was a public hearing with the female workers who returned recently was conducted by ‘Nijera Kori’.
“I think we should give importance to the matter,” he said.
Reazul said: "Whenever we go to foreign countries, we talk to the embassies about the benefits and inconveniences of our immigrants, but there is no mention about women workers.
"We are not often aware that the situation for the women is different from other issues. Unfortunately, in most of these countries discussing human rights issues is not acceptable.
“It is well known that there is no human rights commission in Saudi Arabia. How will you work there? What we can do is to talk with their governments to send public hearing reports.”
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune