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The Refugee and Migratory Movement Research Unit (RMMRU) released the results of the survey on Thursday at a hotel in the capital city.

According to the RMMRU findings, 92 per cent of the women were facing all sorts of problems including reduced wages due to the coronavirus outbreak, maintaining family upkeep, abuse at the hands of their families and so on. Almost half of the women returning home, were abused by their husbands. While income has decreased due to coronavirus, workload and pressure has increased. Before the coronavirus pandemic, 92 per cent of the families would regularly receive overseas remittance. After the onset of the virus, 97 per cent of the families did not receive the remittance regularly. Previously the expenses of 85 per cent of the families were met with the remittance, but after coronavirus, this was not possible for 95 per cent of the families.

Employers in Saudi Arabia grossly misbehaved with the female domestic workers. The government was doing a lot of work in the migration sector, but bureaucracy was an obstacle in every area. The civil servants were unwilling to do anything for the people's welfare unless it served their own interests
Mujibul Haque, Chairman, Parliamentary standing committee for the labour ministry

The findings showed that on average a woman spent Tk 51,728 to go abroad. Prior to coronavirus, a female migrant worker's average monthly wage was Tk 22,331. After coronavirus, this average dropped to Tk 7,246. Before coronavirus, 61 per cent of the women would receive their wages on a regular basis. This has come down to 47 per cent. And 55 per cent were forced to return home without their outstanding dues.

Speaking at the event, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee for the labour ministry, Mujibul Haque, said that employers in Saudi Arabia grossly misbehaved with the female domestic workers.

He said that the government was doing a lot of work in the migration sector, but added that bureaucracy was an obstacle in every area. The civil servants were unwilling to do anything for the people's welfare unless it served their own interests, he said.

Migrant worker families face many problems

Another survey was conducted on 4,884 respondents, including local or overseas migrants and their family members, to determine the social cost of migration. The study showed that even if one member of the family was a migrant working to earn a living, the other members faced problems too. These included loneliness, added work pressure, physical-mental-sexual abuse, deprivation of healthcare and other problems. And 89 per cent of the female members faced derogatory comments from the community. While 85 per cent of the families managed to adjust, 15 per cent could not.

Another survey pointed out that 35 million (3.5 crore) people of South Asia would be displaced from their homes by 2050 due to climate change. In that space of time, one in every seven persons in Bangladesh would be displaced. That means, 13 million (1.3 crore) people would be displaced

Chief news editor of DBC News, Manzurul Islam, said the government is taking the earnings, but not giving the migrants their deserved dignity. This required management to be built up in this sector.

Displacement due to climate change

Another survey pointed out that 35 million (3.5 crore) people of South Asia would be displaced from their homes by 2050 due to climate change. In that space of time, one in every seven persons in Bangladesh would be displaced. That means, 13 million (1.3 crore) people would be displaced. Many persons are being forced to leave their localities due to river erosion and natural disasters. People are also leaving the villages and rushing to the cities due to economic compulsions.

Speaking at the event, member of parliament Tanvir Shakil said that the male members of the families were going to the cities for work due to climate change. The women and the children were left behind. The men often did not return. If the prime minister's vision of 'Amar Gram, Amar Shohor' (My Village, My Town) materialised, people would not have to turn to the cities.

RMMRU conducted these three separate surveys with support from British Council's PROKAS project. In highlighting the survey findings, RMMRU founder chair Tasnim Siddiqui said Bangladesh ranks sixth in displacement. And even with climate change, many are not able to relocate. They are stuck in their localities for various reasons.

Others speaking at the event were member of parliament Gloria Jharna Sarkar and British Council's PROKAS project's Shireen Lira. The three parts of the event were moderated by AFP bureau chief Shafiqul Alam, ATN Bangla's current affairs editor Keramat Ullah Biplob and Bangla Tribune's chief reporter Udisa Emon.

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