Films 4 Peace Foundation executive director Pervez Siddiqui said that the government of Bangladesh has not taken any real step to improve the existing scenario of women migration.
In an interview with New Age, he said that there was no investment of the government to make sure dignified migration of the country’s women workers.
‘What is happening is not female migration. Rather it can be dubbed as a programme facilitating supply of housemaids from Bangladesh,’ he said, adding that the domestic workers were being supplied by a number of companies to Saudi Arabia where they were treated as slaves.
‘Nobody is paying much attention to the tortures and abuse meted out to them, even the government is not taking proper steps towards the protection of female workers abroad,’ he said
Pervez, an award winning filmmaker working with migration issue, said that the female workers sent abroad could earn the same amount of money in Bangladesh.
He said that if the government could take proper steps, the country’s female migrants could be sent abroad for professional and technical jobs.
The domestic workers were not covered by the labour laws abroad and it is known to all that women workers could be vulnerable to sexual and physical abuse due to lack of protection.
Knowing every, the innocent and helpless girls were being sent to the Middle East countries, he said.
He recalled that in the first phase in 2015 when Saudi Arabia opened for Bangladeshi female workers, the women showed reluctance to migrate to the Saudi Arabia fearing violence, abuse and harassment.
Responding to an advertisement of the Ministry of Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment, less than 3000 female workers were interested to get them registered with government to migrate to Saudi Arabia, he said.
Later, the ministry of expatriates welfare and overseas employment conferred responsibility to 50 to 60 recruiting agencies for collecting the women for sending them to Saudi Arabia to meet their demand.
Pervez said that the EWOE ministry made a wrong move by conferring responsibilities to the recruiting agencies, “so the minister, secretary and others concerned should face trial.”
‘The government cannot avoid responsibility of 50 women workers who died as victims of abuse and tortures,’ he argued and added that the amount of money the country’s women workers were sent to earn in Dubai and Riyadh could easily be earned if they stayed in Bangladesh.
He noted that there were so many male and female unemployed after passing their higher education from the universities and they should be sent to work in banks, schools, colleges, hospitals, garment factories and in the tourism sector.
It is only after by grooming them as skilled workers and manpower that they should be sent abroad. Additionally, skill in Bangladesh has to be upgraded so that the workers would have the opportunity to be on a per with international workforce.
He said that the government must have a reintegration plan aimed at the huge number of workers coming back home from abroad.
‘Those are going abroad as housemaids are also victims of family violence after they come back. Helps should be extended to the victims of family violence,’ he said.
Pervez Siddiqui also suggested making migration in accordance with skill categories and returnees should be engaged with different skill programmes for their employment at home.
He said that the labour wings should be dedicated to providing services to the protections of the migrant workers. He stressed on forging partnerships with different NGOs.
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