• Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020
  • Last Update : 03:52 pm

Returnee Bangladeshi migrants suffering due to stigma and lack of support, study says

  • Published at 08:40 pm August 19th, 2020
File photo: Migrant workers at Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

According to the findings of the study, an overwhelming majority of returned migrants (86%) said they had not received any support services since coming back to Bangladesh

The majority of migrant workers who returned to Bangladesh during the Covid-19 pandemic have not received any support services since coming back to the country, and more than half don't have enough food to eat every day, according to a survey report released by an international nonprofit organization on Wednesday.

The study, carried out by Winrock International and supported by the US Agency for International Development, also found that 65% of respondents planned to re-migrate in search of an income. Nearly half of those surveyed said they were being treated badly by the community, indicating a significant level of stigma against migrants during the Covid-19 outbreak, adds the study.

The study was released via a webinar, organized by the USAID-funded and Winrock International implemented Bangladesh Counter Trafficking-In-Persons (BC/TIP) Program and Asia Counter Trafficking-In-Persons (Asia CTIP) Program.

Derrick Brown, mission director, USAID, delivering remarks as a special guest said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc in both migrant source and destination countries, sharply increasing the vulnerability of migrant workers. This is likely to have a negative impact on remittances, a vital economic lifeline."

He reaffirmed the ongoing commitment of the US government to work with the government of Bangladesh on combating unsafe migration and human trafficking.

Liesbeth Zonneveld, chief of party, BC/TIP program, Winrock International, welcomed participants at the online event, laying out the objectives of the program, which aims to work collaboratively with the Bangladesh government to reduce the prevalence of human trafficking and child marriage.

"The research shows that most returned migrants are suffering due to loss of income and negative attitudes towards them. They are desperate to go back to the countries where they were working," said Zain Al-Mahmood, research coordinator for Asia CTIP, who led the research in Bangladesh.

Zafar Sobhan, editor of Dhaka Tribune, said in his remarks that more research was needed to shine a light on the needs of returned migrants, a newly emerged vulnerable group.

The study was carried out among 155 returned migrants in Jessore and Cox’s Bazar districts. The report recommended behavior change communication campaigns targeting negative attitudes and stigma towards returned migrants, awareness campaigns to curb the risk of human trafficking, cash assistance and livelihoods training to support migrants.

According to the findings of the study an overwhelming majority of returned migrants (86%) said they had not received any support services since coming back to Bangladesh.

Since their return, 94% of respondents reported not having enough income to support themselves and 60% said they did not have enough food to eat every day, says the survey report.

Nearly half (49%) said returnees were being treated worse or much worse compared to other Bangladeshis

Most respondents (88%) said they were  currently unemployed in Bangladesh.

The majority (65%) of those surveyed plan to re-migrate for work, and almost all want to go back to the country where they were working, finds the survey.

Although most respondents said they had some knowledge of Covid-19, 84% said they needed more information on the pandemic, according to the study.

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