The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remains as the largest destination for Bangladeshi housemaids in 2018 amid huge complaints of sexual abuse, physical tortures and non-payments of wages facing female workers in this country.
According to Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, of total 101,695 female workers migrated overseas with jobs in 2018, Saudi Arabia recruited 73,713 female workers, which was about 73 per cent of female migrants.
Saudi Arabia recruited only female workers for housemaid jobs, said BMET officials.
Oman became the second largest recruiter of the Bangladeshi female workers and hired 11,034 female workers in 2018. Being a third destination, Jordan recruited some 9100 female workers, who were mostly garment workers, said BMET officials.
Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Mauritius also recruited substantial number of female workers from Bangladesh during the outgoing year.
BMET officials said that overall female migration declined by 16 per cent in 2016 compared with the numbers of previous year, mainly due to tightening of recruitment by the government.
Over 121,000 female workers got jobs in 2017, the BMET data showed.
Migration experts called for exploring alternative markets, sending women as factory workers and investigating complaints of abuses in the KSA.
Trade unionist and founder of the AWAJ Foundation Nazma Akter said that female workers should be sent abroad in the garment factories instead of households considering the formers’ better job atmosphere.
‘RMG workers are treated as workers under the labour law having specific work hours, leaves, accommodations. They are more secured than housemaids,’ she said.
Nazma Akter also called upon the government to send female workers under a bilateral agreement by giving them proper training in skills so that they could work in factories abroad.
WARBE Development Foundation director Jasiya Khatoon called for exploring alternative job markets for the female workers considering their safety and security abroad.
She said that the country’s female migration became centred on one country due to failure of the government to find alternatives.
‘The government’s effort should be directed towards exploring countries for woman workers where their migration can be safe and engagement more diversified,’ she added.
National Domestic Women Workers Union general secretary Murshida Akter said that though the female domestic workers were frequently abused and tortured in the KSA, the government continued sending them to the Kingdom in huge numbers.
‘We strongly demand an explanation from the ministry of expatriate welfare and overseas employment about investigation of abuses,’ she said.