Rahidul Islam had to borrow money to go to Brunei early this year. But after reaching there, he found out his brokers had cheated him.
Instead of the promised job, he had to endure torture for one and a half months before he could borrow more money and return home in Bagmara of Rajshahi.
Speaking at a meeting yesterday, Rahidul said he does not want to go abroad for work again even with the government support.
The UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Human Development Research Centre (HDRC) organised the meeting to prepare a proposal for a national strategy and migration work plan at the divisional commissioner's office in Rajshahi city.
After returning home, Rahidul filed a case against the brokers. Police arrested some of them and an investigation is ongoing.
But a worried Rahidul keeps his phone switched off most of the time to avoid the pressure of lenders. “How will I repay them? It's even hard for me to survive.”
At the meeting, migrant workers Sanadul Rana, Fahima Begum and Manjuara Begum also shared how they fell victim to brokers. They also told the meeting how they were tortured and humiliated, and denied help at Bangladesh embassies abroad.
People of northern districts are losing interest in migrating to other countries in search of jobs due to various reasons including a lack of initiative from the government to establish responsible and accountable recruiting organisations, said Prof Abul Barkat of economics at Dhaka University, principal discussant at the meeting.
Remittance, he said, is also declining due to a lack of negotiation between Bangladesh and other countries and a failure to ensure proper services at the embassies.
Quoting a recent research on migration and development he did with the help of HDRC, Prof Barkat said the country's remittance that was 15,317 million dollars in 2014-15 fell to 14,931 million in 2015-16 and 12,769 million in 2016-17 fiscal.
Of the total 757,731 migrants in 2016, 43,708 people (5.76 percent) were from the eight districts of Rajshahi division, he said.
Eminent litterateur Hasan Azizul Haque urged the government to ensure migrants' safety.
Rajshahi Divisional Commissioner Nur-ur Rahman and Additional Divisional Commissioner Aminul Islam were also present.