Divisional Knowledge Sharing Workshop on Safe, orderly, Regular Migration and the protection of Migrant’s Rights

One Knowledge Sharing Workshop on Safe, Orderly, Regular Migration and the Protection of Migrant’s Rights took place in Circuit House, Jessore on 19th November, which was organized by Parliamentarian Caucus on Migration and Development.

Mr. Israfil Alam, MP, Chair of Parliamentarian Caucus on Migration and Development thanked everyone for attending the workshop. He said that labour migration is one of the important sources for the development of the country. He then talked about the activities of Parliamentarian Caucus on Migration and Development. He mentioned that the members of Parliamentarian Caucus working in the grassroots level, national level and even in the international level.He mentioned the outcomes of GFMD 2017. He said that awareness among the people can reduce many problems in the migration sector. That’s why starting from the divisional level, then district level, then union level and finally in the village level awareness programme is needed. He also mentioned that as this caucus is attending in the divisional level programs, the members are gathering recommendations that are coming from the people who have faced in the real life and also from the learned audiences. He said that we will take these recommendations to our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina if it’s needed.

Mr. Syed Saiful Haque, Chairman, WARBE Development Foundation, mentioned some of the achievements of the Parliamentarian Caucus on Migration and Development so far from its inauguration on 31st March 2017. In this short period of time this caucus has been very active in the migration sectors. He said that we got different important recommendations throughout the visits in the divisional level. He said that members of the caucus have already brought the issues of migration process in the parliament. He also said that the members of the caucus had different meetings with civil society, government officials and with the private sector as well. He mentioned that the percentage of remittance has declined compared to the previous years. He also mentioned that the number of women migrant workers is increasing very rapidly but women are being victimize in the destination countries more often than the male migrant workers. So we all need to work on ensuring security of the women migrant workers in the destination countries. He praised the initiatives of TTC and the government’s achievement on making the rules of Overseas Employment Act 2013 in 2017. He lastly mentioned that dalal/middlemen need to be regularized by law and the laws should be implemented properly.

Stories of Victims:

Jahanara Begum went to Saudi Arab and she was told to get 16,000taka. When she reached there she was moved into 2 houses for work. She used to tell to serve the male guest in a very wrong way when she denied to do so she was beaten up so bad by her employer that she wanted to come back to Bangladesh right away. But her employer told her that he bought her with 70000 taka so he can whatever he wants to do with her. Then she acted like she was trying to commit suicide, after that she came back to Bangladesh. And now she is living a very miserable life.

Asma Begum went to abroad by a middleman who told her that she will be getting 25000 taka per month. She used to work so hard and there a Negro guy started disturbing her at her workplace. Then she came back to Bangladesh by spending 40000taka.

Sabina was in Saudi Arab for 6 months as a domestic worker and she spent 50000 taka to go there. She was imprisoned in the house, her mobile phone and also her passport were snatched away from her. As she could not speak their language she used to get beaten up for not understanding what they are asking her to do. She was not provided with good foods to eat.

Morium, a middleman who used to work abroad now is sending women migrant workers in the destination countries. Before sending she always sends the women migrant workers in TTC to get the training. She mentioned that those she has sent so far are doing well in the destination countries.

SokhinaKhatun, a returnee migrant worker from Lebanon. She was provoked by a middleman named Rohim, who told her that she would get 20,000 taka per month in abroad. But she did not get paid the amount she was told about. She was there for 3 years and did not get her salary properly. Even her husband died after 6months of her leave. And she was not allowed to contact with her family.

Mohammad Forid, wanted to go to Qatar but middlemen sent him to Iraq by telling him that he will earn more money in Iraq than Qatar. After reaching there he was captive with 180 other people for 9months. Then he came back to Bangladesh and triedto file a case against the middleman and the recruiting agency. But the recruiting agency filed a case against him for harassment. He also went to BMET arbitration cell but did not get any benefit from there.

Moslem Ali, who went to Saudi Arab by a help of a policeman by giving him 9lakhs taka and he was told that he would be given a job which is worth 70,000 taka per month. Then he took training from TTC and when he went to Saudi Arab he did not get any job. He used to live in Masjid/mosque and ate dates as he had no work. One day he became very sick and had to come back to Bangladesh. In Bangladesh he tried to file a case against the policeman but no one took his case.

Taposh Kumar went to Singapore by spending 7lakhs taka by taking loan from different sources. He also did not get the job, he was promised to get before going. He came back to Bangladesh after staying there for 11months. Now he is living a very miserable life.

Open Discussion:

Mr. Shopon Kumar Bhottacharjo, MP, said that he got to learn a lot things from this workshop and that it is very unfortunate that these migrant workers have to go through this miserable situation. He mentioned that those who have come back safely, will aware more people about the cheating tendency of the middlemen. He also mentioned more activities to protect migrants rights need to be taken by the government.

Mr. Nazmul Ahsan, Chairman, BOAF talked about the activities, goals and objectives of Bangladesh Obhibashi Adhikar Forum. He said that this network includes all the NGOs which are working in the grassroots level in the migration sector. He mentioned that we work in the grassroots level and even in the national level. He said that if we want to develop the migration sector we all need to work together.

Mr. Faruque Ahmed, Secretary General, WARBE Development Foundation, talked about the importance of having a Parliamentarian Caucus on Migration and Development. He gave some important recommendations, which are:

  • To establish a special court for fast justice of the migrants rights violation cases.
  • We need to calculate the loss and profit situation if we go to abroad
  • To establish dormitory in the destination countries for the domestic migrant workers
  • Skill development is an important part to recognize in the migration sector

Director, DEMO briefly talked about some recommendations, :

  • Use of mobile phone of the migrant workers needs to be ensured
  • Wage of the migrant workers should come through banking system
  • Recruiting Agencies should regularly check on the migrant workers they have sent
  • Before going to abroad one should get his/her contract paper and should know about the terms and conditions of the contract paper.
  • Middlemen should be regularized by the recruiting agencies

Principal, TTC lack of knowledge about the migration process leads the general people to believe in middlemen. He also mentioned that those who come to TTC to get training, most of them do not what is written in their contract paper. He emphasized on creating mass awareness of the migration issue.

Advocate Masuda Begum, mentioned that the trial work of the cases of migrants rights violation should be done within 4months, which is incised in the Overseas Employment Act 2013. She said that strict implementation of this law is essential. She also emphasized on mass awareness on migration issue in the grassroots level.

Speech by the Chief Guest:

Mr. Israfil Alam, MP, in his speech mentioned all the recommendations that came from the workshop and he said that these recommendations will be submitted in the national level and as well in the international level. He mentioned that in 162 countries, Bangladeshi migrant workers are working. Most of the workers face different problems while in the migration process. A very good number of remittance comes from the migration sector and the government do not even have to invest in this sector. He said that a Bank has been set up for the welfare of migrant workers, which needs to be strengthened more. He mentioned that we need to engage our young generation in this sector. He encouraged all the NGOs in the grassroots level to work in this issue. He also mentioned that we need to create a migrant friendly environment in the destinations countries for the migrant workers. He also emphasized on cooperation from multi stakeholders.