When dream turns nightmare

11 December, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Manpower is one of the two mainstays of the country’s economy, the other being the RMG sector. Pure economic contribution to the GDP aside, these two sectors have also brought about a revolutionary social change by addressing unemployment problems and poverty reduction, and in turn, improving mass people’s living standard. In recent times, however, both the sectors are witnessing a rollercoaster ride.

Over the last couple of months, the return of migrant workers from various countries with tears in their eyes has become a staple across print and broadcast media. Migrant workers, especially those who migrated without valid papers, are being deported from Saudi Arabia and Malaysia almost on a daily basis. However, a good number of female migrant workers chose to return home from Saudi Arabia as they were being allegedly tortured and sexually abused by their employers.

Return of so many migrant workers is likely to affect the country’s remittance inflow, but more than that, hopes of thousands of workers and their families was dashed, who had staked everything for going overseas to change their lot.   Many of them had migrated after selling whatever properties they had or by borrowing a large amount of money. Now they have been thrown into tremendous hardship.

Who is responsible for their wretched fate? The government agencies should have stopped these people while they were leaving the country on fake visas. And what is the role of law enforcement agencies? How so many fake recruiting agencies are thriving and pushing innocent victims to the brink of their lives?

So, the mass deportation of migrant workers should be an eye-opener for government agencies as well as the future migrants. The law enforcement agencies should launch a massive drive against dubious recruiting agencies and human traffickers. And people should think twice before embarking on a foreign trip through illegal channel.

In spite of the shortcomings in the manpower sector, it is heartening to note that remittance inflow increased by 22.67 per cent in the 1st five months of the current fiscal. Remittance is one of the major sources of foreign exchange for the country. We can boast of our foreign exchange reserve thanks to the migrant workers’ hard work. Is it not unfortunate that we still could not put in place a sound and hassle-free mechanism of sending jobseekers abroad?