For Sumi Akter, the situation was not only strenuous but also stressful as the 22-year-old Bangladeshi worker at an RMG factory in Jordan had to work in a factory unit she was not trained for.
Before travelling to the Arab nation through middlemen in 2017, she took skills training to perform her duties diligently.
“But I was assigned work I had no experience or training in. The company allocated me to dyeing section where only men work… It was stressful and tough. I was not even paid properly,” she said.
She said after paying Tk 80,000, the money she had borrowed to meet migration expenses, she returned home last year.
Sumi was sharing her experience at a meeting on “Safe and Fair Migration from the Perspective of Women Migrant Garment Workers” at Jatiya Press Club yesterday. Karmojibi Nari organised the event where Rahela Rabbani, its director, presented a study.
The study shows that shrinking opportunities in domestic RMG sector due to challenges including financial and other exploitation and automation, women workers are migrating, especially to Jordan and Mauritius.
However, due to a lack of access to accurate information and reliable sources, female workers become easy targets for brokers.
The study was conducted through focus group discussions, in-depth interviews of 15 women RMG workers and key informant interviews.
Referring to the expatriates’ welfare ministry, the study cited that 48,890 women workers migrated to Jordan between 2010 and 2018 through G2G, a state-level recruitment system.
The number is likely to be higher, considering migrants who went abroad through brokers. Exploitation, discrimination and abuse are still a common ordeal women migrant workers face in Bangladesh and overseas.
The study suggested a 19-point recommendation including providing female migrant workers with language training, improving their skills, ensuring modest accommodation facilities, counselling, health services and bearable workload.
Speaking as chief guest, lawmaker Shirin Akhter said, “Workers have to know about the destination countries. For that, there is no alternative to training.” She urged authorities concerned to properly monitor all stages of migration.
Pratima Paul Majumder, president of Karmojibi Nari, presided over the event. Rina Akhter Jahan, principal of Bangladesh-German Technical Training Centre; Fouzia Shahnaz, principal of Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Mujib Women Technical Training Center, and Razekuzzaman Ratan, general secretary of Samajtantrik Shramik Front, spoke among others.