64 women workers return home to Bangladesh

Sixty-four women domestic workers have returned home to Bangladesh amid allegations of sexual harassment and torture against their employers in Saudi Arabia.

The workers who took refuge in the ‘safe home’ operated by the Bangladesh Embassy in Riyadh, were sent home on Monday, said First Secretary Mohammed Asaduzzaman.

They were sent back to Bangladesh as they were ‘willing’ to return home, he said.

The domestic workers, who used to work in different cities in Saudi Arabia, reached the Dhaka airport on Monday night. Officials of the expatriates welfare and overseas employment ministry received them.

All the workers brought allegations of sexual harassment and physical abuse against their employers in Saudi Arabia. Most of them returned before their term ended.

Bangladesh began to send women workers following a contract with Saudi Arabia in 2015. It sent almost 200,000 women workers to the conservative Muslim country over the past five years.

The country was likely to send domestic workers to Saudi Arabia in 2011 which was never successful as no women workers were willing to migrate to Saudi Arabia after the Human Rights Watch reported ‘physical and mental torture’ on domestic workers in Saudi Arabia in 2010, interviewing 150 domestic workers from Indonesia, Philippines and Sri Lanka.

The Bangladesh government has been denying the complaints of the women workers being tortured in the kingdom.

After visiting Saudi Arabia, a parliamentary committee cited language barrier, homesickness and a lack of Bangladeshi foods as the main reasons for the workers to return home.

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