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Cablegate: Bangladesh Government Reports On Actions Taken

VZCZCXRO1737
RR RUEHCI RUEHDBU RUEHDE
DE RUEHKA #1343 2280552
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 160552Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4819
INFO RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 9245
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 8059
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 1793
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0104
RUEHEK/AMEMBASSY BISHKEK 0042
RUEHAH/AMEMBASSY ASHGABAT 0155
RUEHTA/AMEMBASSY ALMATY 0075
RUEHNT/AMEMBASSY TASHKENT 0160
RUEHDBU/AMEMBASSY DUSHANBE
RUEHAD/AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI 0956
RUEHKL/AMEMBASSY KUALA LUMPUR 0291
RUEHKU/AMEMBASSY KUWAIT 0246
RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 0092
RUEHMK/AMEMBASSY MANAMA 0188
RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH 0361
RUEHDE/AMCONSUL DUBAI 0844
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 0885
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS DHAKA 001343

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

SCA/RA FOR JPFLEIDERER, G/TIP FOR MTAYLOR, SNEUMANN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KCRM BG
SUBJECT: BANGLADESH GOVERNMENT REPORTS ON ACTIONS TAKEN
AGAINST MIGRANT LABOR ABUSERS

REF: DHAKA 1058

1. (SBU) The Expatriate Welfare Ministry, which regulates
migrant labor issues in Bangladesh, provided updated
statistics to the Embassy on actions it has taken against
labor recruitment companies over the past three months, from
May to July 2007.

2. (SBU) Bangladesh's labor export industry is managed by the
Expatriate Welfare Ministry oversees the labor export market,
and in particular by the Ministry's Bureau of Manpower
Employment and Training (BMET). Private "travel agencies" --
the commonly used term for migrant labor recruitment firms --
must register with and pay a deposit to the government. BMET
has the authority to de-license agencies, seize their
deposits, and forward cases involving amounts in excess of
the deposit to the Home Ministry for prosecution.

3. (SBU) Between May and July, the Ministry, through BMET,
seized the security deposits of two agencies, settled 63
outstanding complaints against agencies, and accepted 94 new
complaints. In addition, 6.3 million taka ($90,000) has been
recovered and returned to laborers, and three cases were
forwarded to the Home Ministry for criminal investigation and
prosecution.

4. (SBU) These numbers indicate the GOB is stepping up
enforcement and oversight. During the preceding 64 months,
from January 2002 to April 2007, the Ministry accepted 909
complaints for further investigation and settled 695
complaints. During that period, it refunded to laborers 50.5
million taka ($731,000). Furthermore, many of the new cases
have come since August 2006, when the GOB began a crack-down
on agencies in the wake of a series of embarrassing
revelations in the press about abuses in recruiting laborers
for Malaysia.

5. (SBU) COMMENT. The GOB is starting to make progress in
cleaning up its labor export industry, though further
measures are required. Post is optimistic that, with the
addition of the Expatriate Welfare Ministry to the GOB's
anti-trafficking coordinating mechanisms, intra-government
cooperation will be further enhanced. END COMMENT.
PASI

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