Sunday, June 16, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Repaying a debt

Bangladesh owes a sizeable debt to its overseas workers

Update : 01 Apr 2023, 12:20 AM

It is not a big secret that Bangladeshi migrant workers, especially those in the Gulf nations, are treated incredibly poorly by their overseas employers. From rampant stories of abuse, both physical and mental, to reports of sexual assault, the hardworking Bangladeshis are paying a great price for employment.

And it is nothing short of a shame as the remittance sent in by our migrant workers amounts to the second biggest contributor to our economy, only a few steps behind our RMG industry. Despite these migrant workers sacrificing so much for their homeland, they oftentimes are only offered hollow words of encouragement, with little in the way of actions to support them, when it comes to governmental support for their ill-treatment.

The recent plea made by the state minister for foreign affairs to the United Nations for playing a stronger role to prevent unfair conditions set by migrants' destination countries can be used as a jumping off point to bring this issue to the forefront.

This has been an issue for far too long, and it is unfortunate that we are still unable to weed out the problems from the system -- this is a multifaceted issue that will require cooperation from multiple governments as the system comprises of a network of pitfalls and false promises which trap hapless Bangladeshi workers. 

This includes the unscrupulous middlemen which exist solely to exploit these poor workers, along with the faulty paperwork and visa schemes that make it difficult to separate those that are legitimate.

This is, ultimately, a human rights issue. As such, the intervention of the United Nations would be a logical measure to seek. The government and all the relevant stakeholders and authorities concerned must make this a priority. 

Bangladesh owes a debt to our overseas workers that can never be fully repaid. But the least our nation can do is to ensure their safety.

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