The government should not send female workers abroad if their security is not ensured in the first place as the country have already seen thousands of Bangladeshi women return home after being tortured for years, experts at a consultation program have said.
The event, titled ‘Safe Migration as an Anti-Trafficking Agenda: Addressing Migration in Sustainable Development Goals,’ was organized by WARBE Development Foundation at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Tuesday.
The foundation’s Secretary General Faruque Ahmed said some 4,500 female workers returned to Bangladesh in the past three years after being tortured and harassed by their employers, while hundreds of women were still waiting in Riyadh and Jeddah to come back home.
He criticised Saudi Arabia’s conditions for opening their doors to Bangladeshi migrant workers.
Although Bangladesh is not yet in the position to negotiate with the employing countries over migrant workers rights, but it needs to work faster to improve the conditions of female workers, he said.
Faruque added: “We can somehow tolerate male workers harassment abroad but security of the female workers must be ensured. And if the government cannot ensure that, then there is no need to send them abroad.”
Addressing the program, WARBE Development Foundation President Syed Saiful Haque said the government needed to ensure proper procedure for recruitment, proper surveillance at workplace and dignified job for the workers.
Mentioning the country sent over one million workers last year, Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) Joint Secretary General Shameem Ahmed Chowdhury Noman said it was possible because more than 600,000 workers went to Saudi Arabia alone.
“In last three years, over 450,000 female workers went to Saudi Arabia and some 4,500 workers returned after facing different types of harassment. If we consider the percentage, then it is definitely very low but the situation is not acceptable in anyway,” he added.
MP Roksana Yasmin Suti, a member of the parliamentarian Caucus on Migration and Development, said the government was working on identifying and neutralizing the problems the female workers were facing.
She added that the government was also working introducing insurance schemes for the workers and their family.
WARBE Development Foundation at Tuesday’s event also announced a platform for the development of the migrant workers in line with the SDGs.