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Questionable deaths of female migrant workers

The Daily Star, Bangladesh, 28 July 2019 - The suicide rate amongst the Bangladeshi women migrant workers in Saudi Arabia has shot up 17 times over the course of three years (2016-2019). In fact, the total number of deaths of female migrant workers in that country (up to June 2019) is already 60. The sad part of this tale is that families of these workers are left with unanswered questions about how their loved ones died. Mostly, a message is sent by the employer, but we do know from reports by rights organisations that many domestic workers face a lot of problems, and allegations of sexual and physical abuse have risen from those who have returned from the Middle East alive.

It is up to our missions in Middle East countries to take up the matter with their respective counterparts to make sure employers respect the rights of our workers because people are dying here. We love to show off the billions of dollars we earn through foreign remittance but fail our expatriate workers every step of the way when they go to foreign lands and suffer mistreatment there. Without a proper investigation into these cases of “stroke” and “suicide”, we will never know how they suffered and what is causing so many deaths abroad. If we want Bangladeshi women to go abroad as household help, it is the duty of our government and missions abroad to provide them with a legal safety net in the destination countries, without which the body count is likely to continue or even rise.


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