Saturday, October 17, 2015

“AVOBODAYA NATHI KAMA” is the problem in Foreign Employment

Until Sri Lanka is able to get their citizens to think through their lifestyle choices, we will continue to suffer the ignominy of our women working in the slave trade.

Simply put until those who wish to go and work overseas, know what it is they are putting themselves into, and what are the consequences of their choices, for the family members back home, our female citizens may make choices they will come to regret.

After all life is about making choices for one’s well being, but if one is not armed with sufficient knowledge to make informed decisions, the Govt. makes some decisions on their behalf to prevent tragedy. I would go so far as to say that NO mother should go overseas until their youngest child is at least 12 years old, and having a guardian for them is NOT sufficient. It is simply not worth the risk.

Further the lure of money upfront, usually over Rs100,000 to put them on a plane, is temptation enough for people to be pushed to go overseas, sometimes even by their spouses, so that immediate debts can be repaid. Think about it. This practice MUST be stopped, as it forces people to make the wrong choices owing to hardship, as the lure of money, which the Foreign Job Agent gets returned many times over for this advance, is simply an inducement to enter the “SLAVE TRADE”

Don’t get me wrong. I am NOT anti foreign employment. However I would like those who seek employment, to know the pros and cons, and make informed choices, and if they encounter working conditions that are unbearable there is some recourse to rectify their situation. Yes 600 people come back in body bags, out of a few million who work there, and in that sense is no higher a death rate, than if they were living here, however the basic conditions of their employment must be such that they are able to return under better circumstances than if they had NOT left in the first place.

The state must recognize their responsibility, prioritize who should be encouraged, namely skilled males who can draw a higher income, and reduce the social costs of sending Mothers that has devastated many a family. I agree than in the majority of the cases the overseas workers have improved their livelihood, but we must indentify the groups at most risk, and reduce this risk.  

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