Govt needs to address woes of migrant workers
THAT migrant workers, the second biggest foreign currency earners for Bangladesh after exports, as New age reported on Thursday, continue to get deprived of their democratic rights both at home and abroad does not augur well for the economy. According to the report, thanks to flawed recruitment policy, pursued by successive governments, most of the Bangladeshi people working abroad — especially in West Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States — lack skill, proper training and orientation in the first place. Moreover, they usually go abroad for job without any legal contract being entrapped by unscrupulous recruiting agencies, that too, spending excessive amounts of money. On the other hand, most employers in the receiving countries, particularly of West Asia, take away their passports in a bid to restrict their movement, choice of job which frequently ends up in the latter’s falling victim to exploitations that include ‘trafficking, deception, coercion, arbitrary confinement, illegal detention, deprivation of rights to life and personal security, deprivation of dignity, deprivation of right to work and earn, and even sexual exploitation.’ Besides, they are also denied the rights enshrined in the United Nations International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families to form association and trade unions for the promotion of their economic, social, cultural and other interests by the host countries.
What is more worrisome, the Bangladesh government appears indifferent to all these woes of the migrant workers. While it has hardly taken any effective steps against unscrupulous local recruiting agencies, the Bangladesh missions in different countries largely fail to take care of the workers. Reportedly, our embassy officials mostly remain busy in providing protocols to visiting ministries, members of parliament, civil and military bureaucrats, not to mention leaders of the ruling party and its associate bodies. That apart, diplomats concerned also seek to blame their poor service to migrant workers on the embassies’ apparent shortage of staff. The labour organisations at home have also failed to address the expatriate workers’ issues thus far.
Be that as it may, the government immediately needs to come out of its apathy to migrant workers as the country can hardly afford its price.
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