Modern day slavery at some Mauritius apparel factories alleged

Md Owasim Uddin Bhuyan | Published at 01:45am on February 24, 2020

Bangladeshi workers at some of the apparel factories in Mauritius are forced to work as modern-day slaves, according to migrant rights activists.

They said that Bangladeshi workers should be made aware of their rights before sending them to Mauritius.

Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Programme, an NGO working with Bangladeshi migrants and the trafficking issues, said that it had prepared pre-departure training module for the Mauritius-bound migrant apparel workers.

It said that it would present the module to the officers of the ministry of expatriates welfare and overseas employment, the bureau of manpower and the trainers of the government-run technical training centres on Tuesday.

Its project manager on Modern Slavery Innovation Fund Supriya Shahnewaz told New Age, ‘During visit to Mauritius we found that our workers in some factories were denied their rights and were forced to work as modern-day slaves.’

On 27 June, 2019, the Industriall-Union posted an article on ‘Ending-migrant-workers-rights-violations-in-Mauritius to over 45,000 migrant workers.’

Migrant workers’ rights violations are common at textile and garment sectors’ supply chains and the recruitment agencies in the countries of origin, like Bangladesh, Madagascar, Nepal and India are also involved with the illegality, says the report.

In Mauritius, migrant workers are paid low wages, forced to work for long hours, live in squalid conditions sometimes in dormitories behind the factories and face the risk deportation if they protest against the violations.

The labour and human rights violations against the migrant workers is nothing but modern slavery and was discussed at a workshop organized by IndustriALL Global Union with support from the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung on 18 – 19 June.

Since 2016, at least 24,825 apparel workers of Bangladesh migrated to Mauritius, according to the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training.