Overseas Bangladeshis to send nine bln dollars home this year

DHAKA - Bangladeshis abroad will pump close to nine billion dollars back into the nation's economy this year, the foreign minister said Thursday, but warned migrant workers they were at risk of human trafficking.

By (AFP)

Published: Thu 21 Aug 2008, 6:17 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:55 AM

Itekhar Ahmed said that since January, migrant workers had sent 6.5 billion dollars back to Bangladesh, and the year's total would be around nine billion dollars.

In the 12 months to June 30, Bangladeshis sent 7.9 billion dollars home, up two billion dollars on the previous 12 months.

Ahmed said Bangladeshis working abroad helped the country's economy but said trafficking -- selling people as forced labour -- was a major concern.

"We must eliminate the grey area that falls between migration and trafficking," the privately owned news agency UNB quoted him as saying.

"In a country like Bangladesh, where unemployment is pervasive and opportunities are limited, illegal human traffickers do not have to try too hard to mislead the millions of job seekers."

Ahmed said the government was also working to ensure Bangladeshis did not take jobs where false promises were made.

About 1,000 Bangladeshis, who say they had not been paid the money they were promised from employers, were deported from Kuwait earlier this month after protesting over pay and conditions.

Ahmed said 560,000 Bangladeshis had this year been granted clearance to work abroad.

Officials count the total number of Bangladeshis working and living abroad at five million, but unofficially the number is estimated to be eight million if those who have left through illegal channels are included.

Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in the world with a population of 144 million, counts on the inflow of foreign exchange to fund its imports.

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