A group of progressive women organizations on Friday urged the government to stop sending women domestic workers to Saudi Arabia and other countries unless their legal protections were ensured in minimum level.
Leaders of the women organizations also urged the government of Bangladesh to provide compensations to the family members of the deceased women migrants who succumbed to death abroad being victims of abuse and torture.
Placing nine point demand at a press conference at Muki Bhaban in the city, they called for ensuring financial and social rehabilitation of the country’s women migrants who were returning home as victims of abuse, exploitation and deception.
The organizations included Women Cell of the Communist Party of Bangladesh, Samajtantrik Mohila Forum, Shramajibi Nari Maitri, Bangladesh Nari Mukti Kendra, Nari Sanghati, Biplobi Nari Forum and Hill Women Federation.
Samajtantrik Mohila Forum’s general secretary Shampa Basu who moderated the press conference said that the country’s women migrant workers were being treated as slaves in Saudi Arabia.
Referring to victims’ interviews published in newspaper, she said that women domestic workers were sexually abused by male employers and their family members from child to adult.
She abhorred the comment of the foreign minister who called it little number of dead bodies of women migrants repatriating from Saudi Arabia.
CPB leader Luxmi Charaborty said that women workers migrated to Saudi Arabia with an aim to protect their families at home but repression on them became devastative.
She called upon the government to bring responsible recruiting agencies to book.
Revolutionary Workers Party central leader Bahnishikha Jamali read out the statement of the progressive women organizations and demanded taking immediate steps to protect women domestic workers who were sent to Saudi Arabia and others middle.
She also demanded immediate implementation of the bilateral deals signed for sending women workers to those countries.
She also demanded that the sending recruiting agencies should be brought under legal responsibilities, if necessary asked them to provide compensation to women victims.
Bahnishikha Jamali also said that a probe committee should be formed to find out and punish the government officials posted at Bangladesh missions for showing negligence to the women migrants.
She announced that women organizations would form rally in front of National Press Club and submit memorandum to the Foreign Minister on Sunday morning.
Among other women activists Amena Akhter, Neeti Chakma, Luna Noor, Taslima Akter Beauty and Jannatul Mareum were present at press conference.
According to the Brac Migration Programme, between 2016 and June this year, dead bodies of 311 women workers were sent to Bangladesh from the Gulf countries, mostly from Saudi Arabia.
At least 119 dead bodies of women workers have arrived home this year alone.
Over the past few years, thousands of our female workers returned home after being subjected to physical torture and sexual harassment by their Saudi employers.
More than 900 female migrant workers returned from the Middle East till October this year, most of them from Saudi Arabia.