Speakers at a discussion yesterday urged the government to bring qualitative changes in skills training for female migrant workers to ensure their safety abroad.
Female workers face difficulties abroad due to lack of skills and inadequate knowledge on work and language, they added.
WARBE Development Foundation organised the event at Jatiya Press Club.
Speakers also urged the government to ratify two International Labour Organization conventions -- 189 and 190 -- to ensure female migrant workers’ protection.
ILO convention 189 offers specific protection to domestic workers. It lays down basic rights and principles, and requires states to take a series of measures with a view to making decent work a reality for them. On the other hand, convention 190 is a commitment regarding elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work.
Manusher Jonno Foundation Programme Manager Sarowat Binte Islam said the government needs to focus on strengthening skills of female migrant workers alongside increasing their number each year.
She said proper training will help workers secure jobs with higher wage. “The training has to be modern and of international standard,” Sarowat added.
At the event, Kamola Akter, a Lebanon-returnee worker, said she faced difficulties during her stay in Lebanon as she did not know the country’s language properly.
Bangladeshi Ovibashi Mohila Sramik Association General Secretary Sheikh Rumana said the government’s existing training facility is inadequate.
Hosne Ara Lutfa Dalia, co-chair of National Parliamentarians’ Caucus on Migration and Development, said female workers have to be “more vocal” to stop torture against them while it is the duty of their male counterparts to assist them in this regard.
She asked tortured female workers to submit allegations to the caucus so that it can address their sufferings before the parliament and seek remedy.
National Domestic Women Workers’ Union Adviser Abul Hossain said female workers have to be united to ensure their due rights.
WARBE Chairman Syed Saiful Haque said it is not expected that the government would stop sending female workers abroad. However, it has to ensure their safety, he said.
WARBE Grievance Receiving Officer Suhrawardhy Hossain said ratifying the ILO conventions will help government stop female migrant workers’ sufferings.
EXPAT MINISTRY’S INITIATIVE
Meanwhile, Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry issued a notice yesterday, citing a number of initiatives to ensure “further protection” for female migrant workers.
Of the initiatives, training for female migrant workers will be fully residential and for 30 days, said the notice, signed by the ministry’s Joint Secretary Zahid Hossain.
Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) will update the housekeeping course curriculum and take the ministry’s approval to make it effective within a month of issuing the notice.
To provide proper training, principals of technical training centres will prepare a study plan, including a 24-hour work plan, for each training course.
List of successful participants will be sent to the ministry and BMET’s “female workers’ protection cell”. BMET will conduct the evaluation of female workers’ training through a third party.