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BD women migrate to India crossing border

Middlemen, sub-agents often exploit them

FE Report | June 25, 2019 00:00:00

A large number of Bangladeshi women migrate to India for jobs by crossing border from Kalia upazila in Narail district, according to a recent research finding.

It showed that women workers travel to the neighbouring country with the assistance of middlemen or sub-agents. They are engaged in household works, kitchen porters, beauty parlour assistants and bar dancers. Sometimes they are being exploited by the sub-agents.

The findings of the research on 'Situation Analysis for Women Migrant Workers' were disseminated at a workshop, organised by Bangladeshi Ovibashi Mohila Sramik Association (BOMSA) with the support of PROKAS of British Council, in the city on Monday.

The research covered respondents who had been to Saudi Arabia, Jordan Abu Dhabi, Dubai Oman and India, especially in Mumbai.

Many of them are housewives and used to do own household activities. So, for instance in Mumbai, they mostly work as domestic helps, kitchen porters, beauty parlour assistants and in some cases bar dancers. They earn up to Tk 20,000 each per month.

Deena Nargis, the researcher, said that women are highly dependent on sub-agents to go to India. Sometimes they are cheated by the sub-agents. But the women prefer to go to Middle East as they believe they can earn more money there, she said.

She also pointed out that not only women, males also are migrating to the country with their families.

Peruli, a village of the Kalia upazila, becomes empty after paddy plantation season as every family go to India as seasonal migrant workers. As it is a bordering area, it is very easy to go to the country. But after two or three months, they come back home, she added.

The research also showed that women have good track record of sending remittance, but decision to utilise the money is taken by the family members they left behind. They have no clear information or source on safe and regular migration on a regular basis. They rely on sub-agents to get information.

Another study titled 'Caught in the Middle: Women's Migration Through Sub-Agents' showed that the local sub-agents are like the one-stop service for the potential women migrants.

The research found that 20 per cent of the sub-agents are women in Kalia upazila.

It recommended finding a way to hold the sub-agents accountable and provide recognition to those who follow the legal channels and official rules for migration.

Syed Saiful Haque, chairman of WARBE Development Foundation, said that it is needed to identify how many women migrant workers are staying in India and what is their working condition.

As many women are going to India to find jobs, it is necessary to sign formal deal with the Indian authorities concerned, he added.

Israfil Alam, chairman at the Parliamentary Caucus on Migration and Development, was the chief guest at the programme.

BOMSA chairman Lily Jahan, programme manager Farida Yeasmin and general secretary Sk Rumana, researcher Asif Munier, director programme of RMMRU Marina Sultana, and team leader of PROKAS Gerry Fox, among others, were present.

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