Female workers return from KSA

Steps should be taken to protect the rights of women expatriate workers

Published : 08 Jun 2023 07:42 PM

Torture and sexual harassment of Bangladesh female expatriate workers continued taking places in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and other Middle East sates. Many women migrant workers who have come back to Bangladesh shared their horrific experiences, saying they suffered backbreaking working hours and sexual abuse every day while staying in those countries.

Twelve women who went to Saudi Arabia to work as house helps about six months ago returned home penniless on June 3 after being subjected to torture, according to media reports. They returned home as the Airport Armed Police Battalion (AAPBn) took an effective step in this regard.  

MH Trade International, a recruiting agency, had sent them to KSA. When the 12 women arrived at the airport, they burst into tears and said they were tortured inhumanly by the employers. They said the employers beat them with whips and iron roads. 

The ministries concerned have

 to prepare a specific work plan 

to stop torture and sexual 

harassment of female 

expatriate workers

They are being sexually abused and physically and mentally tortured in many ways there. All the connections between the women from their native homes were disconnected. Even, if any woman fell sick due to insufficient food and safe water, they were not provided treatment.

Around nine lakh women migrant workers are working in different countries of Middle East. Of them, about four lakh and thirty thousands are working in Saudi Arabia.

According to both government and non-government data, thousands of Bangladeshi women migrant workers had to return home empty-handed, especially from the Middle East, after being subjected to torture. However, there is no specific information available on the real number of women migrants who returned home in the face of torture and abuse.

Following the repetition of violence against women, various initiatives were taken for protecting the female workers in KSA. The ministry concerned had also assured that all the female workers who are now abroad would be safe and the situation would be better. But the latest incident of torture shows that the situation has not changed much for the female workers.

The government must take stern punitive actions against owners of recruitment agencies responsible for such heinous activities. The ministries concerned have to prepare a specific work plan to stop torture and sexual harassment of female expatriate workers. Authorities concerned must give protection and honour to women migrant workers in their workplace abroad.