IOM, under the framework of Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants-Bangladesh (GLO.ACT-Bangladesh), organized a capacity building training on ‘Identification, Screening and Referral of Vulnerable Migrants’ from 24-25 January 2021 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. A total of 30 participants (12 females and 18 males) from different ministries, law enforcement agencies and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) involved in counter-trafficking and victim protection issues in Dhaka, Cox’s Bazar, Jashore, Satkhira, Khulna, Rajshahi, Gazipur and Patuakhali attended the two-day training. The training was attended by relevant officials nominated from government agencies included the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Border Guard Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Coast Guard, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Women Affairs And also from the CSOs namely Centre for Women and Children Studies, Justice and Care, Young Power in Social Action, Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program, Association for Community Development, Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), Bangladesh Institute of Theatre Arts, Bangladesh Nari Sramik Kendro, and Bangladeshi Ovibashi Mohila Sramik Association represented.
Hasan Ali (26) returned from Austria in 2019 and was interviewed and accessed reintegration support from Prottasha Project.
Being the youngest amongst 12 brothers and sisters, it was tough for Ali to continue his education beyond the SSC examination. As Ali’s parents, Abul Hossen and Monoara Khatun, had to take care of 14 family members, he felt a tremendous pressure to become economically independent and support his parents. He realized that some people from his community who worked abroad, became economically better off.
A returnee from Europe, Murshid Alom (45), who had suffered from the fear of social stigma, sadness, anxiety, and other family conflicts, regained a new and normal life in his home country through psycho-social, economic and medical support provided under the Prottasha Project.
Sheick Faruk Ahmed, like many other young men in his community, finished primary school but couldn’t afford to attend high school. So, from the age of fourteen, he worked to support his family. But life wasn’t easy and because he lacked qualifications, he couldn’t secure well-paid, permanent jobs and ultimately struggled to earn enough to support those who relied on him.
In February 2020, Merry Chowdhury, a resident of Boalkhali in Chattogram district, travelled to India to seek medical treatment for an eye condition. While she was receiving treatment, India closed its borders to curb the spread of COVID-19. She joined millions of migrants across the world who were unable to travel home once borders closed and countries imposed nationwide lockdowns. Once stranded, vulnerable migrants, including women and girls, people with medical conditions, elderly people, are at a higher risk of abuse, exploitation and neglect. Merry remained in India with no support for seven months before she was able to return to Bangladesh.
Ms. Parvin Sultana (pseudo name) is a mother of two daughters and a migrant who used to live in the United Kingdom (UK). Due to the global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, she returned to Bangladesh on 16 March 2020 along with her two daughters. Since then she and her daughters were stranded here and could not manage to migrate to the UK again as there were no flights.
Ongoing COVID-19 pandemic induced crisis intensified the mental stress of Abul Hasan (pseudo name), a European returnee migrant, who had been facing fears of social stigma and anxiety. After receiving tele-counseling from Prottasha, now, he is not only aware of the crisis, but also able to manage his mental stress. He is now hopeful of leading a healthy life even during the unprecedented restrictions on mobility in the country.
‘I only have one dream — to live a life of laughter and happiness with my husband and child.’
Coming from a financially unstable family, Kamal Miah (42) (fictitious name), the eldest son among three, went abroad with the dream of a better livelihood. While using multiple routes to reach Germany, he discovered danger and uncertainty at each step straining his own life at stake.
গত কয়েক বছর ধরে দেখা গেছে একটি শীর্ষ-মাইক্রোওয়েভ প্রযুক্তি টাওয়ারের ফলে ‘গিগা আইল্যান্ড’ মহেশখালী বিকশিত হয়েছে। এই প্রযুক্তিতে এখানকার বাসিন্দারা ১০০ এমবিপিএসেরও বেশি গতিসম্পন্ন ইন্টারনেট সুবিধা পাচ্ছেন। দেশের কোথাও বর্তমানে এমন দ্রুতগতির ইন্টারনেট সুবিধা নেই। বর্তমান সরকার তথ্য প্রযুক্তির সেবা গ্রামের তৃনমূল পর্যায়ে পৌঁছে দেয়ার লক্ষ্যে পাইলট প্রকল্প ডিজিটাল আইল্যান্ড হিসেবে মহেশখালী দ্বীপকেই বেছে নিয়ে ক্রমান্বয়ে বিভিন্ন ক্ষেত্রে ই-সেবা নিশ্চিত করছে।