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Troubles abound for migrant South Asian female workers in the Gulf

Publication Date : 20-06-2012


Twenty-five-year-old Nazma Begum, who left Bangladesh for Abu Dhabi in quest of a better life in 2004, ended up being a sex worker as her employer left no other options for her.

The sad tale of Nazma is one of many recorded by a women empowerment organisation.

There are thousands of other female migrant workers from South Asia who suffer almost the same fate due to improper migration management.

Nazma's story was one of the case studies discussed yesterday at a press conference of United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) in Dhaka.

UN Women organised the conference at a hotel to unveil its report on “Migration of women workers from South Asia to the Gulf”.

Speakers at the event stressed the need for concerted efforts by the Saarc countries to promote migration policies and alleviate the woes of the migrant workers.

"For ensuring a smooth migration system, the government must be aware of whom it is sending abroad and where," said Dr Zafar Ahmed Khan, secretary of expatriates' welfare and overseas employment ministry.

Sushma Kapoor, deputy regional programme director of UN Women, South Asia sub-regional office, said, "Over 2.5 million Asian workers annually leave their countries to work abroad. The contribution of migrant workers in the form of remittances is an important contribution, especially in case of Bangladesh."

The other speakers included Naheed M. Ahmed, national programme manager, UN Women, and Begum Shamsunnahar, director general of the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training.


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