Nurjahan Begum, 30, of Kurigram worked as a domestic worker in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for six months, four months without any wage and last Ramamdan she was repatriated by Bangladesh embassy as her employer used to torture her.
Mother of two kids, Nurjahan returned to Bangladesh empty handed.
On Monday, Nurjahan while narrating her sad story at the 1st public hearing organized by the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training said ‘I was forced to work hard from early morning to late at night. If I demanded wage the employer responded by kicking me so that I fell unconscious.’
Though the government trumpeted that female migration was free of cost, a broker in the capital took Tk 50,000 from Nurjahan to send her to the KSA as a domestic worker.
She said at the hearing that she was locked up inside a bathroom and her employer burnt her right leg with boiling water.
Unable to withstand torture she said that one day she ran away from the employer’s house and spent one night inside a cave in a hilly area.
‘Later, I took shelter at Bangladesh embassy before returning to Bangladesh with support from an NGO,’ said Nurjahan.
‘I would humbly appeal to the government to ensure that no other women of Bangladesh became victim of such torture abroad,’ she said in tears.
Female workers Rina Akter and Rupali Khatun also narrated similar stories at the public hearing.
Bangladesh Nari Sramik Kendra executive director Sumaiya Islam who helped Nurjahan to return to Bangladesh from the KSA told the public hearing that Nurjahan was paid no wages for four months and paid much less wage for two other months.
It’s modern day slavery in Saudi Arabia, she told New Age after the public hearing.
BMET director general Salim Reza who chaired the hearing said that the BMET would hold weekly public hearing at 11AM every Monday.
He urged the recruiting agents who took part in the public hearing to reduce migrant workers’ problems in destination countries.
Recruiting agent and SA trading proprietor Abdul Alim said that Bangladesh government should request Saudi government to open a cell under the Saudi labour ministry to dispose of the cases of the female migrant workers in Saudi Arabia.
Al Rabeta managing partner Mohammad Abul Bashar said that Bangabhaban officials asked him over phone to bring back such women victims within six hours which no recruiting agency could do.
BMET director for immigration Atiqur Rahman and director for training Nurul Islam, recruiting agency owners were present at the hearing.
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