July 2, 2022

The women migrant workers have been getting abused in the Middle East countries over the years due to sheer negligence of the states as both the sending and the receiving countries have not yet taken any protective steps for them, according to Films 4 Peace Foundation executive director Pervez Siddiqui.

In an interview with Migration News, he said that the state mechanism always kept the women migrant workers vulnerable to exploitations and abuses because they have never been empowered to overcome unwanted situations abroad.

“Due to absence of protective measures in place at home and abroad, the women migrants are getting abused sexually,” he said.

Perzez Siddiqui, also an award winning filmmaker, said that abuse of women migrant workers started at home by the middlemen who were involved in taking them to the training centers and then they (women migrants) had to face exploitation at all stages of migration.

If the government could take proper steps to protect the women migrants at home, they would be saved everywhere, he said.

Women migrant workers should be brought under coverage of the labour laws so they could enjoy the all rights with dignity, demanded Pervez, also a migrant rights activist.

In the destinations, he said that the migrant workers should also be covered by the labour laws to entitle them enjoying labour rights there.

Not only in Qatar but all other countries in Middle East recruiting thousands of women migrants from Bangladesh should bring them under labour law and ensure minimum wage for them, and the wages should be paid through bank transfer, he said.

As the women workers were forced to work excessively from dawn to mid night, they should be paid properly, he demanded.

Properly trained women workers should be groomed as per demand of the destinations, he said, adding that modern training centers should be set up in collaboration with joint ventures of two countries to groom the skilled workers.

The promotion of the skilled migration could help significantly reduce the problems in the female migration, he said.

“Without taking strong interventions by the states, the safe migration could not be made possible, so the states must take the responsibility if they want to protect the interest of the migrants in particular as well as the countries in general.”

Since 1991, nearly one million women migrants, 98 per cent of them domestic workers, have left Bangladesh for overseas destinations, according to Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET).

Over 18, 000 women migrant workers have come back to Bangladesh between 1 April and  October 7, according to the Wage Earners Welfare Board (WEWB) under the Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry, Bangladesh.

Of them, 6,025 have come back home from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 3,269 from the United Arab Emirates, 1,887 from Lebanon, 1,789 from Jordan, 1,362 from Qatar and 1,241 from Oman.

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