Proper skills training of female migrant workers can be a way to reduce their abuse in the hands of employers, speakers said at a views-exchange meeting yesterday.
Besides, before departing the country, migrant workers should have adequate knowledge of the type of jobs they are going to be recruited in and other professional responsibilities, they said.
Bangladesh Mahila Parishad arranged the meeting at its premises in the capital’s Segunbagicha, against the backdrop of reported incidents of rights violation of women migrant workers in Middle Eastern countries.
Some 5,000 complaints of harassment, deception, physical abuse and rape have been filed by female migrant workers returning from Saudi Arabia alone in the past three years, said Rekha Chowdhury, acting secretary of BMP.
These complaints were filed with Bangladesh embassy in Saudi Arabia; Expatriate’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry; Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training; Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies; Wage Earners’ Welfare Board and different non-government organisations, she said, reading out a written statement.
The country also received 311 bodies of women migrant workers over the past three and a half years, most of whom were working in Saudi Arabia, she added.
Referring to a recent survey, migration expert Prof Tasneem Siddiqui said some 30 percent of women migrant workers were either divorced or separated from their spouses.
They went overseas in desperation while their average financial condition and educational status were also lower than those of garment workers, she said, adding that pre-departure training for such migrant workers could ensure their safety abroad.
Lily Jahan, chairman of Bangladeshi Obhibashi Mohila Sramik Association, said women migrant workers often face abuse abroad because of lack of information.
Safe migration for them is possible if they can learn “the truth” about their jobs before departure, she said.
Rownaq Jahan, secretary, Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry, said they have been working to ensure safe migration through developing both work and language skills of migrant workers.
BMET Director Nurul Islam said they have a one-month training facility but many women migrant workers do not want to avail such opportunity.
Ayesha Khanam, president of BMP, and Nadim Rahman, programme officer, migration and local government, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, among others, spoke at the event.