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Ending the scourge of human trafficking

  • Published at 12:21 am April 18th, 2019

The mortality rate of Bangladeshi workers in the Middle East is disturbingly high

Every year, Bangladeshi workers abroad send home billions of dollars worth of remittance, improving the lives of their families, and enriching our economy.

To millions of Bangladeshis, the promise of lucrative jobs in mostly Middle Eastern nations, such as Saudi Arabia or the UAE, is nothing short of a dream.

But sometimes, that dream turns into a nightmare -- and that nightmare is called human trafficking.

A recent investigative report conducted by the Dhaka Tribune sheds light on how human traffickers operate in a multi-tiered process, whereby they employ the help of middle managers such as travel agents, who promise young women high-paying jobs in foreign countries, but find themselves sold to traffickers, and eventually to brothels.

The big picture is not pretty -- the mortality rate of Bangladeshi workers in the Middle East is disturbingly high, and that speaks to terrible working conditions, abuse at the hands of employers, and the lack of proper health care. 

Women are also in a position of greater vulnerability with regards to physical and sexual abuse.

Sadly, the authorities have known about the dangers for quite some time now -- time and again we hear of the horrific treatment encountered by domestic help in countries like Saudi Arabia, but a satisfactory mechanism is still not in place that ensures the rights and dignity of our workers abroad.

The need of the hour, then, is to root out traffickers and unscrupulous middlemen right here in Bangladesh rather than waiting for foreign countries to step up, because the hard-working men and women who go abroad to work in the face of great uncertainty deserve better.