'Unnatural deaths' of migrant workers
Bangladeshi workers have been dying while working in different countries across the world. In the last four months, a total of 904 deceased migrant workers were returned home from different countries. Of them, 32 were women workers. The deceased workers' families alleged that most of the workers died due to illness resulting from torture, though the death certificates showed them as having had 'heart attacks'. Workers of this country go abroad through brokers and recruiting agencies many of which do not have proper licenses. Given this fact, a large number of workers fall victim to cheating by the recruiting agencies, and cannot seek legal redress for fear of being victimised by the police.
Odhikar believes that the remittance sent by migrant workers is one of the prime sources of national income, and plays a significant role in enhancing the economy and GDP of the country as well as family stability. Unfortunately, their labour and working conditions were hardly ever appreciated during any regime.
Odhikar urges the government to form a special cell immediately in Bangladeshi missions abroad where there is a Bangladeshi labour market. This should be monitored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Odhikar believes that it is the moral responsibility of the government to monitor recruiting agencies, taking action against unscrupulous and unlicensed recruiting agencies and to arrange compensation for victims of torture and the families of deceased migrant workers.
Source: Human rights monitoring report-May-2009, Odhikar.