Over 3 lakh Bangladeshi women are working in Saudi Arabia. Many are returning home after falling victim to torture or betrayal
A writ has been filed at the High Court seeking a ban on sending housemaids to the Middle East from Bangladesh without providing them with proper security and legal help.
The countries that have been specified are Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.
The writ also sought directives on forming a tribunal for the trial of cases which were filed under the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking Act.
A woman named Razia Khatun from Cox's Bazar filed the writ on November 12 this year.
A hearing on the writ is scheduled to be held on Tuesday (November 19) at the bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Quader.
Meanwhile, the writ also sought a directive on the rehabilitation of and compensation for female workers who had returned from abroad after being tortured there.
The authorities concerned, including the secretaries of the law ministry, the home ministry and the expatriates' welfare ministry, have been made respondents in the writ.
According to the expatriate welfare desk at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, 20,692 Bangladeshis have returned home from Saudi Arabia in the last ten months of this year.
At present, over 3 lakh Bangladeshi women are working in Saudi Arabia. Many are returning home after falling victim to torture or betrayal.
Sixty-four Bangladeshi female workers returned home from Saudi Arabia on August 26 after allegedly being abused by their employers.
"About 21,000 Bangladeshis have been repatriated from Saudi Arabia so far this year, with 934 returning in the first week of November," said Shariful Hassan, head of the Brac Migration Programme.
He added, "In the last four years, 152 female workers died in Saudi Arabia, 66 of whom committed suicide. Fifty-three bodies have arrived this year alone."
Recently, a female worker named Sumi Akhtar posted a video on social media with a plea to save her life. The video went viral, and Sumi finally returned to Dhaka from Saudi Arabia.
Sumi went to Saudi Arabia on May 30 to work as a housemaid through the Ruposhi Bangla Overseas agency.
In the video, she said, "They [my employers] will kill me. Please, take me back to my country. I want to return to my children and family. I will die if I have to stay here any longer."
Sumi's husband Nurul Islam filed a general diary at the Paltan Police Station in the capital after the video went viral. He also filed a written complaint at the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training on October 22.
Nurul Islam sought help from the Brac Migration Programme on October 27 to bring Sumi back home safely, a press release of the programme said. With the help of Brac, a written complaint was filed at the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment on October 29.