Migration experts on Tuesday called for introducing sustainable re-integration program for the migrant workers as they were coming back home from destination countries in increasing numbers every years.
The migrant workers, especially the female workers continued to return home as victims of abuse, tortures and other forms of exploitation, they said.
The experts made their remarks while speaking at a consultation, organized by BRAC Migration Program at BRAC Centre in the city, in collaboration with Swiss and Danish Embassies in Dhaka.
Participants observed that re-integration program should cover emergency support, psycho-social counseling and financial integration for the returnee migrants.
Wage Earners' Welfare Board director general Gazi Mohammad Julhas said that the government was trying to assist the migrant workers in various forms.
He also said that the government was preparing a comprehensive database of the country’s migrant workers and the database could be helpful for ensuring re-integration of the returnee migrants in Bangladesh.
He also said that welfare board decided to initially provide Tk 5000 to each migrant worker returning home in distress.
BRAC Migration Program Head Shariful Islam Hassan who presented keynote paper at the consultation informed that about 5.5 lakh workers came back home in a decade.
He said that BRAC migration program provided emergency supports to over 5200 returned migrants and of them 45 workers were mentally traumatized.
Shariful called upon the local CSOs to play a significant role in sustainable reintegration of returnee migrant workers.
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Program Officer Anindya Dutta said that re-integration should be introduced equally for both male and female migrant workers.
He said that the Swiss Embassy was keen to provide necessary assistance to the government and other NGOs to facilitate the program.
In the open discussion, participants said that the government should strengthen Probashi Kalyan Bank to provide financial supports to the returnee migrants.
They also stressed the need for taking collective steps of all stakeholders including civil society organizations, trade unionists, NGOs and individual organizations to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration.
A common platform of the Trade Unions and the Civil Society Organizations for national advocacy on migration launched recently in Bangladesh could help more to promote decent work across all sectors for migrant workers, a participant said.
Solidarity Center’s Bangladesh Country Program Director Jon Hartough, its senior Program Officer Dr Lily Gomes, Program officer Aysha Akter, Journalists Owasim Uddin Bhuyan, Aratafat Ara and Imrul Kayes, Awaj Foundation director Anisur Rahman Khan, OKUP representative Ruchi Sravasti , Nari Unnyan Shakti executive director Afroja Parvin among others were present at the consultation.