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18 April, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Rural-urban migration needs information support for female migrants

The already acute slum population is growing further, contributing to serious human and law and order problems
MOHAMMED MAMUN RASHID
Rural-urban migration needs information support for female migrants

Approximately 34 percent of Bangladesh’s current population lives in urban areas. Of this urban population, more than half lives in the four largest cities: Dhaka, Chattogram, Khulna and Rajshahi. Cites that holding the prospects for better income opportunities than most parts of Bangladesh, rapid migration is causing Dhaka’s population to grow much faster than the rest of the country. This fast urbanization is putting pressure on the city’s limited land, an already fragile environment, and weak urban services. The already acute slum population is growing further, contributing to serious human and law and order problems.

Despite having shortage of reliable and comprehensive data on male and female migration separately from rural to urban but it has been observed that more female is migrating now and not just as accompanying spouses. It is happened due to economic hardship, demand of female labor, cheap labor, growing social acceptance of women’s economic independence and mobility. It shows the feminization of migration in population movement. Study of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) reveals that some 167 women aged between 11 and 29 came to Dhaka against every 100 men for work in 2016, while the number was 166 for Chattogram. This indicates female migration within the country is increasing day by day, as is their participation in workforce.

Poverty is main push factor for female migration which is also multi-dimensional like unemployment, low income, unsecured social condition, low access to information, human rights violence and lack of enabling institution. Searching employment opportunities; whatever odd, irregular or underpaid, is the main pull factor of female migration because they do not have ample employment opportunities round the year in village. Moreover, scope of employment particularly in garments factory, residential house, construction sites, dream of better living conditions, communication with relatives living in city, and social networks are other forms of pull factor. For instance, 0.12 million people worked at garments factory in 1984-85; now it increased to 4.00 million in 2017-18. Nearly 90% of total workers are female.

Majority of female migrants is young; and age from 20 to 30 years. They have low level education & limited set of skills; and do not know about the conditions of their job after migration in city.

They are at most risk of trafficking for sexual exploitation, forced prostitution, domestic servitude, forced labor and other forms of exploitation. Female migrants, in utmost extent, are lured or deceived with promises of a better life and more lucrative job opportunities in cities due to lack of proper information.

Nonetheless Bangladesh has a set of policies, laws, plans and institutional settings that both directly and indirectly address many aspects of internal female migration issue. As for example, National Labor Policy- 2012 sets ten specific objectives for well-beings of labor and enabling environment. Along with other issues and concerns, this policy acknowledges that a significant proportion of total labor forces are employed in informal sectors like brickfield, chatal, construction site, restaurant, and so on. The government committed to make law, if necessary, for well-beings of such labors.

Protection issues of female migrants have been addressed in National Labor Law and Labor Rules- 2015. But main hindrance is lack of implementation of such instruments due to weak institutional capacity.

Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET) was established in the year 1976 by the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh as an attached department of the then Ministry of Manpower Development and Social Welfare with specific purpose of meeting the manpower requirement of the country and for export of manpower as well. BMET is engaged for overall planning and implementation of the strategies for proper utilization of manpower of the country. It fully focuses on international migration. But plight of internal female migrants is little-known to duty bearers and state guardians.

Government should develop comprehensive protection framework for well-beings of female migrants. An initiative should be taken for mainstreaming this issue with relevant sectoral policies.

This can reduce vulnerability of female migrants and their family members, while reducing dependency on middlemen by establishing and strengthening information support of local government, government departments, community-based organizations (CBOs) and NGOs. As for example, government can prepare innovative awareness materials and use it through line agencies and Information Unit of Union Parishad (UP). NGOs can summarize basic provision and rights of Bangladesh labor law, women development policy, domestic violence (prevention and protection) act, eve-teasing, and tentative risks associated in female migration process.

Findings can be used in awareness development materials and policy promotion tools. They can take initiative for sensitization of duty bearers and other national & sub-national actors.

The writer is a development activist.

E-mail: rashidmamuns@yahoo.com

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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