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Tricked, trafficked and passing days in living hell

Published : Saturday, 27 February, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 190

Tricked, trafficked and passing days in living hell

Tricked, trafficked and passing days in living hell

A group of at least 55 Bangladeshis had paid recruiting agencies over Tk 3 lakh each for jobs in Algeria - in return for a promise of illegal passage into Spain - what they got for the promise was to jump into forced labour under subhuman living conditions.

It is nothing but modern-day slavery in the guise of construction jobs.  When the workers attempted to release themselves from their abusive contracts and leave the country - they were told they had been 'bought'. The fact is that these illegal Bangladeshi immigrants can't leave and must bear the horrendous working conditions was bad news for the workers for whom Algeria was only a pit stop to their final destination. Several workers have shared their ordeal over the social media and other communicating apps.

In 2019, the said 55 Bangladeshis were recruited by Singapore Skills Training Centre (currently known as Asia Skills Training Centre) in Munshiganj. Their BMET (Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training) clearance was processed by Banna Bijoy Overseas Ltd. However, On January 4, in a drive on both the skills training centre and the processing agent's office which recruited these workers, a total of three arrests were made by Rab-3. What's surprising, While Singapore Skills Training Centre was still operational as Asia Skills Training Centre, Banna Bijoy Overseas Ltd's licence had been temporarily suspended. All operational activities should have been tracked and monitored since that very moment. That hadn't happen.

When the workers were in trouble, or were not getting their payments, they contacted the local agent who had no legal responsibility over them. The legal responsibility lies with Banna Bijoy, but they do not even know which workers they had sent. How can that be? The point, however, our law enforcement agencies have not been able to place all recruitment agencies under the scanner. Moreover, syndicate groups in the likes of Banna Bijoy yet continue to play with the fate of poor and innocent migrants.

We believe, it is time for the government to launch a countrywide fresh drive to locate and reprimand these dubious recruiting agencies. More to it, our ministry of foreign affairs, Expatriates' Welfare Ministry and embassy in Algeria must right away begin official dialogues and meetings to bring back the cheated migrant workers home. At the same time, there are hundreds of ill-fated migrant workers struck in various East European countries, the need of the hour is to contact with these countries and arrange their return trip to homeland. We call on our Ministry of Foreign Affairs and embassies to play much pro-active and decisive role in this regard.

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