Outflow of maids to S Arabia up in Aug despite workplace exploitation

FE Report | Published: September 21, 2018 12:58:54


The outflow of Bangladeshi women domestic helps to Saudi Arabia has increased in August, official statistics show.

The month saw a surge in outflow of women workers even after many women were forced to return home because of workplace exploitation.

During the January-August period this year, a total of 67,052 women workers went abroad. Of them, about 50,000 have gone to Saudi Arabia, according to the official figure.

In August alone, some 4,101 women domestic helps went to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as against 2,535 workers in July, according to the data of the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training (BMET).

On the other hand, more than 800 women have returned home from the Middle East (ME) country since May because of workplace exploitation.

Of them, 238 women returned home from Riyadh-based safe home and immigration camp during the period between August and September 18, according to the welfare desk at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka.

The women returned home for various reasons, such as denial of wages, sexual and physical assaults, the lack of proper food and excessive workload.

Officials at the BMET said the number of Saudi-bound women job seekers dropped significantly in June and July following tight selection process.

But the dropout rate declined recently as the preliminary selection of the workers by recruiting agencies is taking place properly, they said.

The BMET follows up the aspirant domestic workers after completion of their 30-day mandatory training.

Physical fitness and reading and writing skills are the primary requirements for the aspirant maids to be selected for jobs in Saudi Arabia.

Migrant rights activists said women workers' rights need to be protected in the destination country.

Only tightening selection process cannot prevent violence against women, they said.

They think women are being exploited in many ways. Sexual harassment and denial of wages are worst types of exploitation.

The Saudi authorities have to play a vital role in stopping such types of violence, they suggested.

More than 0.7 million Bangladeshi female workers have gone abroad with jobs since 1991.

Of them, over 0.2 million went to Saudi Arabia alone, where they are mostly employed as domestic helps.

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