Human Trafficking

PM’s directives go unheeded

Mahabub Alam

2 June, 2020 12:00 AM printer

The authorities concerned have turned a blind eye to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s directives to bring the middlemen involved in overseas job activities under a legal framework.

On September 4 in 2019, the premier directed the Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Ministry to issue identity cards to the middlemen to ensure accountability and transparency in the migration sector.

Officials said that as the prime minister’s directive is going unheeded, brokers dare to send jobseekers abroad through illegal channels, resulting in unexpected deaths.

Dr Ahmed Munirus Saleheen, secretary of the ministry, told the daily sun that the prime minister directed them to find out ways to monitor brokers properly to protect migrants from harassment.

The ministry asked recruiting agencies to submit a list of the brokers working with them.

When asked about the list, the secretary said, “Actually, I cannot say about this at this moment without checking the files and documents.”

Sources in the ministry said that the agencies are yet to submit the list of the middlemen for migrants.

There are 1,302 licenced recruiting agencies across the country, says the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET).

As per the Overseas Employment and Migrants Act 2013, the recruiting agencies and Bangladesh Association of International Recruiting Agencies (BAIRA) must control the middlemen.

On Thursday, human traffickers killed 26 Bangladeshi migrants and injured 11 others in a violent shooting in Libya.

Three separate cases were filed against local brokers in Madaripur and Kishoreganj on Sunday.

On Monday, an RAB team arrested a broker named Kamal Hossain alias Haji Kamal, 55, from Shahjadpur area in the capital.

According to the Refugee and Migratory Movements Research Unit (RMMRU) of Dhaka University, more than 700 Bangladeshis were detained while they were voyaging for Europe through the Mediterranean Sea in the last few months.

Besides, a large number of Bangladeshi migrants are taken hostage by human traffickers.

A study conducted by the RMMRU last year said that middlemen played a key role in sending fortune-seekers abroad.

It also said that middlemen provide at least 17 types of activities -- such as providing information on jobs, bringing in job contracts and facilitating receipt of air tickets.

The RMMRU developed three possible ways to provide an ID card to a middleman.

They are registration with District Employment and Manpower Office (DEMO), registration with the BMET and registration with BAIRA.

The RMMRU sees the third stage as logical as BMET and DEMO are the controlling authorities.