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Naripokkho asks govt to take action over Saudi workers’ misery

  • Published at 02:35 am May 29th, 2018
Bangladeshi women workers return from Saudi Arabia at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

The government has not taken any steps against these recruiting agencies or any of the middlemen

Women’s rights organization Naripokkho has urged the government to take immediate steps regarding Bangladeshi women who had gone to Saudi Arabia to work and returned recently after suffering immense physical and psychological torture at the hands of their employers.

A press release, signed by the organization’s Movement Secretary Tamanna Khan Popi on Monday, said women are being forced to return to the country from Saudi Arabia after going there for well-paid work and getting raped or sexually assaulted. Last year, almost 4,000 female labourers returned to the country in similar situations. 

The women complained that even though recruiting agencies lure them in with promises of high pay, they eventually take no responsibility for what happens to them and sometimes sell them outright. They were raped, sexually and physically assaulted, and mentally tortured. The women were also made to work like slaves with no pay and little or no food. Some of them even had their passports taken away, stated the press release.

Despite these incidents, the Bangladesh government has not taken any steps against these recruiting agencies or any of the middlemen. Rather, there have been rumours that they are putting the blame on these unfortunate women. Naripokkho expressed their anger and concern over the matter.

The press release also said since the government of Bangladesh has an agreement with the Saudi government regarding the supply of domestic help using recruiting agencies, they must take a stand to put an end to this. 

Naripokkho implores the government and all quarters to assist these women with funds and legal support and bring immediate justice to the guilty parties through investigation. It is imperative that the security of Bangladeshi women in Saudi Arabia be taken seriously by their government, and it is their duty to look into the complaints of these women and take judicial action where necessary. Naripokkho urged the government of Bangladesh to publicly state what initiatives they have taken to make the Saudi government take steps in this regard.

The organization also asked for help from all associated government and non-government quarters.

Last week, Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry’s Secretary Dr Namita Halder had said: “Most of the Bangladeshi women workers in Saudi Arabia are working happily and those returning home were coming back after failing to cope up with the local environment and culture.”

However, Sunday’s 40 followed a number of women workers who have recently returned to Bangladesh from Saudi Arabia in a similar manner and shared with the media their tales of woe under the employment of locals in Saudi Arabia.