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Female migration on rise despite allegations of abuse

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Reza Mahmud :
Female workers' migration increased last year despite widespread allegations of abuse and torture by their employers abroad.
A total of 97,430 female workers went abroad with jobs during January-November 2019, while the number was 91,921 during the corresponding period of previous year (2018), according to latest data of the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET).
The BMET data shows that a total of 58,283 female workers went to Saudi Arabia during July-November period of last year, 18,123 to Jordan, 11,323 to Oman, 3,537 to Qatar, 2,301 to UAE, 1523 to Lebanan, 1,068 to Mauritius, 737 to Kuwait, 170 to Hong Kong, 96 to Singapore, 24 to Cyprus, 20 to Malaysia, 21 to Brunei Darussalam and 204 to other countries.
A total of 1,46,0,789 Bangladeshi migrant workers have been living in different countries of which 7,00,278 are females.
In 2019, female migrants were subjected to torture in Saudi Arabia and other countries and it drew huge criticism. Even MPs showed their anger in Parliament session. Sumi Akter and Hosna Akhter returned home in November 2019 after being tortured by their employers in Saudi Arabia. The government brought them back with special efforts after their appeals through video calls which went viral.
On the other hand, Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen said in a press briefing held on November 14 in the capital that majority of Bangladeshi female migrants working abroad are somehow going well with one percent of them facing problems.
Only 53 female workers died out of 220,000 female workers currently working in Saudi Arabia, he added.
Meanwhile the manpower businessmen acknowledged that some incidents obviously happened in different countries.
But they said that there were various reasons behind those torturing incidents abroad.
Ruhul Amin Swapan, the former General Secretary of Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) told The New Nation that every allegation of torturing abroad is not true. Some of those really happened.
"Many of our female workers suffer from home sickness. They usually failed to stay far away from their dear ones, family members. As a result, they started crying to return home," Swapan said.
He said that in such cases, they lodged false allegation of torture in order to draw sympathy to pave way to return home.  
In such cases, the home maids usually start to stop working on demand to send back them. Eventually their employers really start torturing as they spend huge money to bring them there.
He, as well other experts however said that some of the employers really tortured our female migrants without any visible reason.
Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Imran Ahmed told the journalists in a recent view exchange meeting that they were trying to take different measures for migrant women's safety.
As part of the initiatives, the third joint technical committee meeting between the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment and the Saudi Ministry of Labour and Social Development in Riyadh was held on November 27. As per decisions of the meeting, the authorities in Saudi Arabia have given assurance to ensure the protection of Bangladeshi female workers in that country.
Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Secretary Md Salim Reza said it to journalists at Probashi Kalyan Bhaban on December 2.
When contacted, Shameem Ahmed Noman, General Secretary of BAIRA told The New Nation, "Female workers' remittance is helpful for both women empowerment as well is important for our economy."
He expressed optimism that government's recent initiatives will be successful to create better working atmosphere for our female migrants abroad.

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