Call to stop sending domestic helps to Saudi Arabia

BRAC, LFMEAB sign MoU on reintegration of women workers

FE Report | Published: June 12, 2018 13:08:38 | Updated: June 13, 2018 15:07:53

Bangladesh should stop sending domestic workers to Saudi Arabia considering pervasive workplace abuse there, speakers at a programme said on Monday.

Rather, job opportunities should be created for less-skilled women in the country, they said.

Different sectors such as apparel, knitwear and leather can employ the women willing to go abroad for jobs, they added.

The BRAC and the Leathergoods and Footwear Manufacturer and Exporters Association of Bangladesh (LFMEAB) jointly organised the 'Emergency Support and Reintegration Programme for Vulnerable Returnees'.

The event was held at Brac Centre Inn in the city.

"Why should we send women workers to Saudi Arabia just for a little amount of money?" said Kazi Reazul Hoque, chairman of the National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh (NHRCB).

About 4.0 million workers are engaged in Readymade Garment (RMG) sector in Bangladesh and most of them are women, he said.

Women are also working in other industries, he added.

So, the women willing to go abroad for jobs can also be hired by local organisations, he observed.

Mr Hoque also said skilled workers from India and Sri Lanka are working in various sectors in Bangladesh.

The government should introduce a quota system for local workers in every sector, he added.

"What is the role of the foreign ministry and Bangladesh missions abroad when a large number of women coming back home after suffering abuse?" the NHRCB chief posed a question.

LFMEAB president Saiful Islam said Bangladesh should stop sending domestic helps to Saudi Arabia.

Local industries can recruit the women job seekers instead, he said.

The horrific torture inflicted on women workers by their employers in Saudi Arabia is intolerable, he said.

At the event, the BRAC and the LFMEAB signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on reintegration of women workers who returned home.

Each of 22 women returnees received a cheque for Tk 100,000 considering their age and condition.

Some 50 women will also be provided training and employment under the reintegration programme.

Shariful Islam, programme head of BRAC migration programme, said women who are coming back home are facing various obstacles in the country.

They need long-term reintegration supports. Many are still suffering from mental trauma and many are not accepted in their families.

Recounting their ordeals, women workers said they went to the oil-rich country to change their lot. But they faced untold sufferings instead.

They came back home empty-handed.

Some of them said after returning home, they are not accepted by their families and husbands.

About 1000 women domestic helps returned home from Saudi Arabia in the last six months.

More than 0.2 million Bangladeshi women are still working in Saudi.


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