Vol. 5 Num 64 Thu. July 29, 2004  
Front Page

12,000 women workers abused in last 3 years, 37 killed

As many as 12,000 expatriate women were abused and 37 of them died from 2001 to 2003 in different countries, said the secretary of expatriates welfare and overseas employment ministry.

Expatriate women, especially those engaged in household work, are subject to harassment and abuse, Secretary Dalil Uddin Mondol said while addressing a view exchange meeting at the National Press Club yesterday.

Policy Leadership and Advocacy for Gender Equality (Plage), a project of the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs, organised the meeting on Bangladesh overseas employment policy. Mortuza Hossain Mun-shi, secretary of women and children affairs ministry, chaired the meet.

"The government restricted women to performing household work abroad since 1998. But many women still go abroad to work as house-help as they fall victim to the traps of human traffickers," Mondol told the meeting.

Lack of proper training and language efficiency are the two key reasons for which women become victims of abuse, he noted.

He said the government is going to finalise a policy paper soon to reduce wage discrimination and sexual harassment of women abroad.

Ferdous Ara Begum, joint secretary of the ministry, read out a draft policy paper formulated by the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment.

The policy focused mainly on job markets, authority, licensing and regulations, role of private sector in overseas immigration programme and foreign exchange remittance issues.

Rina Sen Gupta, officer-in-charge of International Migration Organisation, said the policy should focus on capacity building of women and coping strategy with their workplace before going abroad. She suggested the government to approve loan for safe migration of women.

She said Bangladeshi missions abroad should build a network among expatriate Bangladeshi women workers and human rights organisations of the concerned countries to check abuse at workplace.