After the revelation of a high profile human trafficking case in Kuwait, a few dozen Bangladeshis are now complaining of being trafficked to Vietnam by an organised group operating in Bangladesh and the Southeast Asian country.
They said they were charged Tk 4-5 lakh and promised jobs with monthly salary of $500-$600. However, once taken to Vietnam, they were outsourced to various companies for short periods and paid less than half the salaries they were promised.
"I was promised the job of a welder at a company and a monthly salary of 600 dollars. However, I was employed by a supply company as a welding helper and my monthly salary was 300 dollars. Again, I also had to pay for food and lodging bill, which I was not supposed to pay," said Shariful Islam of Doulatpur, Khulna.
He and 10 others returned from Vietnam on July 2 after facing the same fate.
Shariful told The Daily Star today that they did not want to continue work under such conditions and then informed the Bangladesh embassy in Hanoi and eventually returned home in a flight arranged by Vietnam for repatriating Vietnamese citizens from Bangladesh and other South Asian countries.
"We had to pay for returning home," he said.
Shital Chandra Sarker -- also facing similar situation -- said he and 26 other Bangladeshis were taken to Vietnam between November last year and February this year.
He said they all have emigration clearance from the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET), but were not provided with any job contract.
"We were supplied to different companies to work for some days and paid half the salaries promised," Shital told The Daily Star from Hanoi today.
He named some Bangladeshis, including Mostafa, Jabbar and a Vietnamese woman married to one of them, involved in the trafficking process.
He said they asked the labour brokers to go by the promises made before taking them to Vietnam, but that was never heeded. They then decided to return home.
"We were supposed to return home on July 3, but our passports are with Jabbar and Mostafa. Our embassy first said it would send us with temporary passport, but then said we would need the original passports. That's why we could not return home," Shital said.
He said they went to the Bangladesh embassy on July 2. They were then kept at a hotel near the embassy in Hanoi. Several hundred Bangladeshis have been lured with good jobs but then exploited this year, he said.
Meanwhile, the foreign ministry in a statement today said they came to know that 27 Bangladeshi nationals were lured by human traffickers to Vietnam and are now temporarily staying at a hotel provided by the Vietnam authorities.
Vietnam is not a country where much work opportunities are available for prospective foreign workers. Brokers traffic Bangladeshi workers there with the hope of landing them in prosperous countries such as Australia, New Zealand and other parts of South-east Asia, it said.
The foreign ministry statement said 11 Bangladeshis were repatriated on July 2, but the 27 people, also listed for repatriation, declined to avail the flight stating that Bangladesh government has to pay for their airfare.
"Bangladesh government does not have a provision to pay for the airfare of returning illegal workers. In all repatriation flights, it is the passengers themselves who pay for their passage rather than from taxpayers' money," it said.