Sathy Khaton left Bangladesh for Jordan with big dreams. She was promised with domestic aide’s job in Jordan, something that she always dreamt about. First few days were full of excitement. But as time went by, things started to change.
“I had gone with big dreams, but they never came true,” said Sathy as she reminisced her days abroad.
Sathy was sold to a family in Egypt by her employer within days of her arrival in Jordan. Unware of the consequences and barely having the option to seek protection, she had no other choice than to comply with the employer’s demand. She landed in Egypt only to find herself under fierce abuse and exploitation. The family would make her work 20 hours a day with barely any food. By the end of the month, they didn’t even pay her salaries.
One day, Sathy decided to escape from the vicious cycle of exploitation for work. She ran away from the house and took shelter in a construction building where she hid herself for five days. She constantly feared of being caught by her employer. With time, she managed to figure out the routes to the nearest Police station and finally reported her case. The local Police connected her with the Embassy of Bangladesh. Soon she was on her way back to her homeland with the help of The UN Migration Agency – IOM.
Upon her return, she was provided with a grant of approximately USD 970 under IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme that helped her start a small-scale agribusiness.
“With IOM’s financial support and a bit of the money I had saved earlier, I was able to revive my fate. Together with my husband, we now run our own farming business where we grow rice, corns and wheat,” Sathy stated at a session organized by IOM with big name global brands on promoting ethical recruitment practices and eliminating modern slavery.
Cases like Sathy’s isn’t very uncommon for Bangladeshis. The influence of middlemen coupled with unethical recruitment practices by employers often put a handful of migrant workers in fanatic situations. Even from the country’s economic standpoint, ensuring their protection has become ever so crucial as they are one of the key contributors to the country’s economy.