By Haile-Gebriel Endashaw
ADDIS ABABA – (BORKENA) Announcement posted in Amhara Region lulling over half a million young women to migrate to Saudi Arabia for work has sparked controversy among people.
Though over 500,000 young women are said to be employed legally in Arab countries, people are raising questions over the involvement of the government in encouraging human trafficking or labor migration. First, the invitation has been released only in the Amhara Region. On the other hand, nothing has been heard about similar calls in Oromia, South Nations and Nationalities, Tigray, Afar or any other regions. It is here people are asking why. No government official or any other concerned body has come out for clarification to clear doubts roaming in the minds of the public.
Of course, many young women from all over the country have long been flying to Arab countries for work. However, what makes this invitation special is the focus of areas where the laborers are recruited. The call has been extended only for young Amhara women. People are asking why this is being done. What is the secret agenda behind this? Why has recruitment not been undertaken in other regions? There are many people who show a desire to migrate from other regions, but why has the concerned body or the government shown interest only in the Amhara Region? Why did they come up with this call when it is not yet a year since the young women who were working in Saudi Arabia have been kicked off from there?
The government has been engaged in this new migration project under the pretext of offering job opportunities to young women. However, though the systematic migration seems to be legal, all things seem to be entwined with political sabotage and secret proceedings, according to comments forwarded by some people. Some are heard saying that the initiative “was taken by the politicians who belong to the ruling party to systematically root out” the jobless young Amharas from the region. People are substantiating their arguments by saying that the migration of the women will be to Arab countries that are believed to have close relations with the Premier. Sources are thus expressing dismay about the non-principle relations of the top government officials with some Arab countries.
The other unclarified thing is that the people are expressing concern about an Oromo Employment Agency, which is doing its business behind the curtain. The Agency, which is said to become official in no time, will take the entire responsibility of making dealings with the Arab employers. The Agency will have the dealings on behalf of the young female employees regarding the way they are traveling overseas and the way they get paid salaries, pay rate including various benefit packages, work permits, agreements, etc. The Agency has dealings with the Saudi employers. The young female employees have no rights or the opportunities to deal with the employers regarding the hiring agreements. They do not have any idea about the exact payment amount they are receiving from their employers. They have no rights to contact their families back home, to ask for annual leave from their employers, to ask about their rights of medical services….
People say that this is nothing but modern slavery which encompasses human trafficking. What has been done here is human trafficking, which is the process of recruiting and transporting people through deception for the purpose of exploitation. In a situation where the employee woman does not have the rights to deal with her employer is nothing but deception. The hiring situation where she has no rights to have dealings with her employer regarding the pay rate and benefit packages is nothing but pure exploitation.
The business agents and the government bodies are involved in these employment dealings where there are no agreements of the employees with the recognition of UN treaty and refugee conventions.
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