Migrant awareness campaign in villages



KATHMANDU: The government is expanding awareness programmes targeting migrant workers to remote villages to reduce fraud in foreign employment.

Every day at least three fraud cases are registered in the Department of Foreign Employment. The government is planning to mobile village development committees (VDCs), and local non-governmental and community-based organisations to educate people about foreign employment. “Ministry of Local Development is coordinating the awareness campaign in local level,” director general at Department of Foreign Employment Purna Chandra Bhattarai said.

“Orientation to village secretaries and officials of local non-governmental organisation has just started,” he said, adding that the training process will end by next fiscal year 2012-13. “We hope mobilisation of local bodies and non-governmental organisation will be effective to reduce risk associated with foreign employment.”

According to the department, about 640 fraud cases have been registered in the department in the first four months of current fiscal year. Foreign employment related frauds recorded all time high of 241 in Bhadra (mid-August to mid-September). Among them, some 88 cases were against registered outsourcing agencies and 153 were against their agents.

“Agents of the outsourcing agencies are root of fraud,” Bhattarai said.

About 4,000 agents are active in villages and cheating people in the name of foreign employment. “Their irresponsible activities have linked foreign employment to human trafficking,” according to the report published by Amnesty International (AI) yesterday.

Therefore, the department is also planning to collaborate with anti-trafficking networks to control growing human trafficking in the name of foreign employment. Women migrant workers are more vulnerable to human trafficking in the name of foreign employment, the AI report said.

About 60 to 70 women migrant workers reach Gulf countries – Saudi Aabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and others – through illegal channels of such networks making them more vulnerable to abuses.

Nepali migrant women workers trafficked to Gulf countries have to suffer from various exploitations and abuses from employers as their job – domestic helps – is not secured by the labour law of the destination countries.

According to UN women report of 2011, more than 22 per cent women migrant workers are suffering from exploitations or abuse in the host country and five per cent were cheated in salary and benefits. About 200,000 women are believed to be working in Gulf countries but only 40,000 are officially recorded in the department as most of the women migrant workers reach the destination countries via India.

According to the AI report, unofficially some 30 per cent women migrant workers are working abroad but according to the department, some 10 per cent to 12 per cent are women among the total Nepali migrant workers, though they are not registered officially.



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