Migrants’ rights campaigners on Monday submitted a memorandum to the expatriates’ welfare and overseas employment ministry protesting at sexual abuses and other forms of repression on Bangladeshi women workers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
A group of 11 organisations submitted the memorandum to EWOE secretary Nomita Halder at Probashi Kalyan Bhaban demanding that the ministry take protective measures for women migrants facing abuses in the kingdom.
Almost every day, a number of Bangladeshi women workers are coming hack home empty-handed, they told the ministry.
The participating organisations included Ain o Salish Kendra, Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit, WARBE Development Foundation, Bangladeshi Ovhibashi Mohila Sramik Association, Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program, BRAC migration Programme and IMA research Foundation.
During a meeting with the EWOE ministry officials, the campaigners demanded ensuring security for each of the woman migrants and also called for resolving issues through negotiations between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia.
They also stressed the need for sending workers after ensuring protection of their rights through bilateral agreements.
They also sought ministry’s efforts to ensure protection of victims by laws of the destination country.
They said that the victims should be provided with compensations, healthcare services and assistances for realising their due wage.
Women workers are facing sexual abuse, physical and mental torture and denial of wage while they are often given inadequate foods in the destination countries, they said.
WARBE Development Foundation director Jasiya Khatoon said that women workers in Saudi Arabia were forced to work extra hours in excess of those set out in their contracts. ‘Even if a domestic worker is hired for a family of seven or eight members, she is often forced to work at a home with up to 20 members.’
Awaj Foundation director Anisur Rahman Khan said that during their discussions with the secretary and top officials of the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training, they raised examples of Singapore and Malaysia where if any migrant lodges a complaint and then returns home, their cases are followed by Bangladesh missions until they get justice.
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