Latest modern slavery fight updates - FreedomUnited.org

Trafficked Bangladeshis in Vanuatu Considering Suicide

  • Published on
    March 25, 2019
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Human Trafficking, Rehabilitation & Liberation
Hero Banner

Over 100 Bangladeshi migrants have arrived in the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu in the past year. But instead of taking up jobs they were promised, they were trafficked and exploited for their labor by four fellow Bangladeshis.

While the traffickers are due in court next month, the migrants are stuck in limbo. While they are being housed and given basic support by the Vanuatu Human Rights Coalition and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the government of Bangladesh says the government of Vanuatu and IOM have been of no help in repatriating their citizens.

Vanuatu’s interior minister, Andrew Soloman Napuat, explained that his country would await a court decision on the traffickers before deciding taking any action to repatriate the Bangladeshi victims.

Yet as Thomson Reuters Foundation reports, this leaves the migrants in limbo, with some considering committing suicide:

“If we stay here, there’s nothing; if we go home, we don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Harun Or Rashid, who was promised a job in Australia, adding that the men were worried about how they will repay loans to relatives and banks at home.

Lured by the promise of jobs as salesmen in Vanuatu and nearby Australia, the Bangladeshis said they had sold property and taken out loans worth up to $20,000 to pay for the move.

Once the migrants landed in Vanuatu, they were forced to work at a construction site building a market, subjected to beatings, and denied the money they were promised, Rashid said.

“Some in the group believe that it’s better to commit suicide here, because there seems to be no way out,” he added by phone from a house in the capital, Port Vila, where 30 of the migrants were staying and receiving support from the government.

One of the main problems is that while many of the Bangladeshi migrants have agreed to testify against their traffickers, they have no right to work in Vanuatu in the meantime. Many said they would like the ability to legally work in Vanuatu instead of simply being repatriated, going home empty handed.

Bangladesh’s High Commission in Australia — which does not have a representative in Vanuatu — said it was informed of the case by IOM in November, but has received no details since then.

“If IOM can provide details that they must have, Bangladesh can ascertain their citizenship and start the process of repatriation,” said a spokesperson.

Subscribe

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
guest
1 Comment
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Harun
Harun
5 years ago

Please come forward to save us

This week

From Ecuador's fields to global supply chains: Freedom United tackles modern slavery

As hundreds of Ecuadorian workers await a verdict in a milestone modern slavery case, Freedom United's Executive Director, Joanna Ewart-James, sat down with German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle News to explain modern slavery in supply chains and everyday products. Chances are you've used a forced labor product The Deutsche Welle report follows landmark rulings on cases of exploitation in Ecuador at Furukawa Plantaciones C.A., a Japanese company that

| Thursday June 20, 2024

Read more