Every year 2.2 million young people enter the workforce. To date, 12.2 million Bangladeshi migrants are working abroad. Lack of knowledge and practice regarding responsible migration makes these people vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking.
A comprehensive rights-based approach has been undertaken consisting of prevention, protection, and prosecution to enable safe, regular, and responsible migration, and reduce the risk of trafficking. Our services cover pre-migration, support during migration, and support when returning and reintegrating. We also work with civil society organisations and stakeholders to develop the capacity of community members and mobilise them to strengthen advocacy initiatives for policy formulation and implementation.
SKILLS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
50% of Bangladesh’s population is below 24 years old and 84% of the workforce is employed in the informal sector.
Learners are provided with access to skills development through two approaches; apprenticeships and institution-based models. In both approaches, at least 35% of learners are female, and marginalised groups are prioritised. Equal wages, toilet facilities for female workers inside or outside the workshops and factories, access to clean drinking water, and occupational safety and health are promoted.
During both institution-based training and apprenticeships, the trainers whom the learners are assigned to are also provided with occupation based training on subjects, such as decent work, soft skills, life skills, gender equity, and financial literacy. Employers are also supported to meet BRAC promoted decent work standards.
A REINTEGRATION MODEL FOR MIGRANTS THAT WORKS
Every year thousands of women leave Bangladesh for a better life, many of them using risky methods to migrate. Those dreams often end in nightmares, like Shima’s had.
Orphaned at an early age, Shima was trafficked to Jordan by her neighbour when she was only 13. Her trafficker promised big money and a better future. Shima suffered physical and mental torture by her employer and returned to Bangladesh empty-handed.
BRAC staff received Shima at the airport when she returned. Her family refused to travel to Dhaka to pick her up. She received food, accommodation, and counselling. Shima initially tried to kill herself, but was saved by a BRAC staff member who was there to look after her. She was taken to a hospital for treatment, where she again attempted to commit suicide. Doctors then referred her to the National Mental Hospital. BRAC took her responsibility, taking care of her medical bills and providing mental support. One BRAC volunteer monitored her round the clock.
After one month Shima showed signs of improvement, and BRAC contacted her family in Sylhet through the local police and administration. Following a joint effort by police, the UNO and BRAC officials, her family eventually came to Dhaka to take her home. Still traumatised, Shima needed something to keep herself busy. BRAC officials helped her write a letter describing her ordeal to the Wage Earners’ Welfare Board, and she received BDT 100,000 to start her own dairy farm.
It took time and a lot of support, but Shima reintegrated back into society successfully. She is 16 and still on a journey of healing, but is determined to make a future in Bangladesh. She enjoys looking after her three cows, and one now gives just enough milk to meet the family’s needs.
From on-arrival support to reintegration, the BRAC migration programme supports vulnerable women and men migrants by providing information, training, and counselling. 3.5 million migrants like Shima have received these services since 2006.