Promoting Safe Migration for the Women of Bangladesh
Bangladesh is one of the major labour-sending countries of the Asia-Pacific region. Revenue generated from migration is one of the driving forces of the economic growth of Bangladesh. According to the Bureau of Manpower, Employment, and Training (BMET), in 2017 a total of 1,008,525 people went abroad for work and livelihood opportunities, with women workers, accounting for 12.1% of the total migrant workforce from Bangladesh. Female migration has been steadily increasing at a rate of 36%, 14%, 17% in 2016, 2017, 2018 respectively. The highest number of female workers (121,925) migrated in 2017. Women have been migrating to countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon where migrant workers’ rights are still not fully protected through either national or international legislation. However, in 2018, the migration rate for women dropped by a significant 17% due to widespread reports of abuse of women workers. This also led the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment (MEWOE) and BMET to be cautious in the recruitment of women migrants.
Poverty, gender discrimination and limited livelihood options in rural areas create a supply of women workers for countries with high demand for migrant workers. Limited mobility and access to services makes women susceptible to exploitation and abuse when they are forced to migrate or willingly choose to migrate. The exploitation and abuse take various forms at different stages as women lack information on safe migration, understanding on rights and entitlements to protect themselves both in country and in destination countries. Due to lesser costs of migration for women compared to men, families often force women to opt for unsafe migration to make a living. The absence of formal recruiting agents and appropriate service provisions in sub-districts combined with low levels of education and skills results in high levels of exploitation of women by middlemen, agents and employers in destination countries. At policy level a “zero-cost” female migration has been promoted. In reality, due to exploitation at different levels, the costs of migration are high. Due to prevailing social norms, female migration is associated with stigma, which creates a complex set of challenges for women when they return from overseas employment. This makes rebuilding lives after returning from overseas employment really difficult.
ER1: Targeted institutions at district/ sub-district level possess relevant understanding and information to offer improved women-friendly pre-departure support and services for migration.
ER 2: Policy makers and civil society are equipped with knowledge on the implementation of international commitments and areas to be addressed through national commitments.
ER 3: 3,000 prospective women migrants at the union level have access to information on safe migration and decent work.
ER 4: CBOs and Union Digital Centers have improved capacity to facilitate services to aspirant women migrants at the national/district/sub-district level.
Development of Information Package
Review government training curriculum for addressing women and gender issues
Conduct Training of Trainers for BMET & TTC
Evidence-based advocacy meetings at the upazila level
Advocacy meetings with stakeholders at the district level
Organization of annual dialogue sessions/meetings between migrants and government officials/relevant stakeholders
Advocacy meetings with CEDAW Committee
Advocacy meetings on ILO convention C189 and GCM
Launch and publishing of case study report of Women Migrant Workers
Desk Study on comparative scenario of female migrant workers in South Asia region
Round-table dialogue on case-story and study findings with key stakeholders
Organize Community Meetings at the Union level for community mobilization
Training of women information champions
Life skills-based pre-decision orientation on safe migration, risks & vulnerabilities, women’s empowerment, rights & legal support, communication, etc.
Conduct 120 courtyard meetings on safe migration, including returnee migrants
Develop video documentation and conduct screening sessions
Establishing Migration Corners at UDCs (Union Digital Centres)
Capacity building of Union Digital Center entrepreneurs
Forming and functionalizing CBOs of migrants at the upazila level
Training on Migration and Gender for CBOs‘ members/leaders
UDC training for UP Secretary and UDC entrepreneurs on safe migration
Establishing referral linkages for migration-related services, info and support at BMET, DEMO, TTC, UDC & others.
15,000 women will directly benefit from the project through capacity building or services accessed through CBOs, Union Digital Centers or information received from women information champions or relatives who received trainings. It is expected that approximately 30,000 people in these two upazilas will indirectly benefit from an increased understanding of challenges of migration and improved institutional capacity of the government institutions.
Two sub-districts of Dhaka district, namely, Keraniganj and Nawabganj of Dhaka District
01.11.2019 – 30.09.2021
This project is funded through the Silk Routes Facility. The Silk Routes Facility is a component of the larger project, “Improving Migration Management in the Silk Routes Countries” funded by the European Union and implemented by ICMPD.
Welfare Association for the rights of Bangladeshi Emigrants Development Foundation (WARBE-DF)
To promote safe and planned migration particularly for women as a contribution to Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 8.
1. Enhanced capacity of targeted Government institutions to develop gender responsive migration policy and procedures and to facilitate safe, orderly and gender sensitive migration for decent job placement of women workers
2. Women in rural communities are empowered to make informed choices and decisions about migration and are able to access services