Several returnee migrant workers at a press conference on Tuesday alleged that they became victims of fraud in the destination country – Kyrgyzstan.
"I, along with 13 others, went to Kyrgyzstanon last year with a work visa through the recruiting agency M/S Al Jabeen Establishment. I was supposed to be paid Tk57,000 a month," Sajal Mia, one of the victims, told the event at the Dhaka Reporters' Unity in the capital.
"But, in the first month, my employer gave me only TK10,000. On top of that, the employer deducted Tk7,000, saying that he paid money to the broker to bring us from Bangladesh and would deduct the money in phases."
"The employer did not pay us any more money later. Rather, they tortured us physically and mentally. I returned home last month. But, I am now unable to stay at home due to the threats from brokers and debtors," he added.
Sajal said that all 14 Bangladeshis employed in the same company – LLC AL. 1-AG/AM and Co – in Kirgizstan through the agency faced the same situation. "Seven of them returned home later."
Of the 7, four attended the programme, jointly organised by The Refugee and Migratory Movement Research Unit and the Rights Jessore. Several other migration victims also talked there.
"Although we managed to rescue seven people, the remaining seven people are still stuck in Kyrgyzstan. We cannot contact them," Rights Jessore's Executive Director Binoy Krishna Mallick said at the event.
"All of them went to Kyrgyzstan through the broker Syed Mahamosul Hasan. We informed the government agencies concerned about the matter but did not get a positive response yet."
Victims also claimed that the broker took Tk3.25 lakh for each visa.
When contacted, Syed Mahamosul Hasan, told TBS that the statement about 7 stuck in Kyrgyzstan was completely false. "They are still working there. Those who came back created trouble there. They were not able to work as per the demands of the employer."
He also said he did not take more than Tk2.80 lakh from any of the 14.
Mohammed Hanif, managing director of Al-Jabeen Establishment, said, "The returnees created trouble with the company due to not being able to work. But now they are complaining here and there instead of contacting us."
Meanwhile, The Business Standard also spoke to Shariful Islam, among the seven workers currently staying in Kyrgyzstan. "I am doing well in the company and earning Tk40,000-50,000 a month," he said.
When asked about the seven returnees, he echoed Syed Mahamosul Hasan and Mohammed Hanif.
"Because the company was not satisfied with their work, a dispute arose with them. As a result, they had to go back," Shariful Islam added.
He said the returnees are not 7 in number; it is 6. "One named Md Limon returned to the company again."