Alerts

Trafficked Bangladeshi Workers in Jordan Plead for Help

June, 13 2007 Share

The following is the English transcript of a Bangladeshi worker who talks of the desperate crisis he and his fellow workers face in Jordan.

Translation:  Video Testimony #1, June 8, 2007
Workers of Fashion Curve
Al Tajamouat Industrial City, Amman, Jordan

 

Assalamualikum! (Bengali Greetings!)

My name is Nuruzzaman, of the village: Dair Chor, Thana: Shib Chor and District: Madaripur; I came here from Bangladesh. I came here in August 2004 and started working for Fashion Curve Garments in the Al Tajamouat Industrial City area. 30 workers came through Mahbub Travels to Jordan. We had to spend two hundred thousand taka for each visa. The agent told us that in Bangladesh food and housing would be free of cost and the work duration would be 8 hours a day. But we are now working 15 hours on average everyday are not paid for our overtime work. We even have to work night-shifts sometimes. The company did not pay us our salary for the first two months. They have been torturing us from the beginning in various ways. The company has already deported 2/3 workers to Bangladesh. We have complained to the Ministry of Labor Court of Jordan, but they did not respond to our problems at all. The Labor Court personnel are corrupt; they visited our factory and have taken bribes from the factory owner. Later they did not take any kind of action to resolve the problems. We have been toiling here for the last two years and are bearing such torture and brutality. We found the Embassy of Bangladesh in Jordan not helpful as well.

The company has filed cases against 10 workers. They do not provide any overtime payments. If we demand anything about our legal rights, the supervisors misbehave and threaten us. When we have complained about the pending salary of two months, the PM scolded us. The company doesn't pay anything for medical treatment. One of the workers has died due to the excessive pressure and torture of factory management. Before his death, we requested our factory owner to provide him medical treatment for the pain in his chest. The owner was careless about this worker's health; he was not willing to pay anything for him. We arranged some money from the workers and admitted him to the medical hospital. One day he suddenly died.  Now another worker has become severely sick; he needs good treatment, but the factory management is nonchalant about this. He is now unable to work, staying at his room. We have also requested company to send him home as they will not give medical treatment. But the company is not doing anything for his departure.

The management always threatens us that they will call police when we demand our rights; they also want to send us back to our country. As we had spent huge amount of money, we are tolerating such torture. There were some workers who came here through Metro Travels in 2005, and we came here through Mahbub Travels in 2004. Now all the Bangladeshi workers are suffering here. The government of Jordan provides a visa free of cost. But the factory owner charges two hundred thousand taka for the each visa. The company has not been giving a proper salary from the beginning. When we were supposed to get 95 J.D., the company pays 80-85 J.D., and when government declares 125 J.D. the company pays only 110 J.D. When we asked about it, they made an excuse about not getting any notice form the government.

We come from a poor country. Since the government grants visas free of cost, why did we have to pay a huge amount for it? The amount we had spent to come here, it is very difficult to earn back working even for three years long. We are all now at home idle. Some of us are sick without food. Now we are passing our days with great difficulties. It seems it is very hard to get rid of such torture. There is a rule here about submitting an application before 14 days of calling strike and we did it.  But the company wants to deduct money for those days we did not go to the factory. Now we all are fighting to survive. The company has stopped the supply of water, electricity and food to us. Some Bangladeshi workers are helping us to survive now. Currently we are surviving by taking help from other Bangladeshi staff living here. We earnestly request you to arrange for our return back to Bangladesh as soon as possible.