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Migrant workers deserve protection

  • Published at 12:01 am August 29th, 2019
Migrant Workers
Photo: MEHEDI HASAN

We must, as a country, do a better job of protecting our workers from abuse and exploitation

Harrowing tales of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse from female migrant workers, especially those returning from Saudi Arabia, have become all too common. 

Nearly 800 female workers have been brought back to Bangladesh already this year; last year, the number totaled over 1,300. 

These are not isolated horror stories -- these numbers tell the story of the constant exploitation our migrant workers face at the hands of various predatory parties, including middlemen with malicious intent, and torturous employers on foreign lands.

It has become a cycle: Workers are exploited at home, then abused and further exploited abroad, then rescued if they are lucky, and finally recompensed. 

This cycle must be broken -- we must, as a country, do a better job of protecting our workers from abuse and exploitation.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recently spoke on the issue, emphasizing the importance of raising awareness about ill-intentioned third-parties, particularly in rural areas. 

Crucially, the PM also stressed the importance of creating a much stronger monitoring system to prevent further deception of workers, and that of training a skilled workforce,

So far, there is still a long way to go in terms of establishing a solid mechanism for the protection of our workers from harm, but the main responsibility lies with our own authorities. 

The remittances sent home by Bangladeshi migrant workers form the backbone of our nation’s economy, and it is of the greatest importance, particularly this juncture in our economic history, that we stand behind the hard-working men and women who do so much for the betterment of the country.