Migrant Forum in Asia
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Bangladesh : A Documentary on the Role of Sub-Agents in the Recruitment of Migrant Workers

Many migrant workers rely on “dalals” or sub-agents to facilitate their recruitment for work abroad. These sub-agents can be family members, friends, and members of the communities where migrant workers come from. Migrant Forum in Asia in collaboration with CIMS Kerala is pleased to share a documentary on the role of sub-agents in the recruitment of Nepalese migrant workers. The documentary is made through the support of the International Labour Organization Work in Freedom programme.

The informality of subagents’ operations presents a challenge for states in regulating their activities. They are often difficult to identify and/or contact, as most operate independently and are accessible only via mobile phone. Recruitment agencies that subcontract such agents claim that they would not be able to reach prospective migrants without their services, as the agencies are generally located in cities; subagents help them to reach distant rural areas. The subcontracting system enables recruiters to distance themselves from the illegal and unethical activities of their subagents, and subagents profit from the lack of regulation—a mutually beneficial and reinforcing arrangement.

The documentary involves interviews with sub-agents, migrant workers, families of migrants, recruitment agency associations, civil society representatives, and government representatives. The video documentations’ purpose is for viewers to develop a better understanding of the role of informal labour intermediaries and to contribute to the improvement of overall accountability in the recruitment processes. It focuses on sub-agents in Bangladesh. Specifically, it aims to:

  • Highlight perspective of sub-agents and migrant workers on how the latter help/facilitate migrant workers employment and how they are beneficial from the point of view of migrant workers.
  • Use the video as a tool in policy spaces related to fair recruitment, foreign employment, intermediation and human trafficking.

Contribute to the improvement of existing laws and policies concerning fair recruitment, foreign employment, intermediation and human trafficking.

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MFA is a regional network of non-government organizations (NGOs), associations and trade unions of migrant workers, and individual advocates in Asia who are committed to protect and promote the rights and welfare of migrant workers.

It is guided by a vision of an alternative world system based on respect for human rights and dignity, social justice, and gender equity, particularly for migrant workers.

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