A group of Bangladeshi laborers employed by a Maldivian company approached our advocacy and legal aid centre with their grievances. A story that reflects the condition of many other migrant workers like them in the Maldives. They were ill-treated, stripped of their basic rights and forced to work for 13 hours a day. They worked without resistance because they feared losing their only source of income to support them and their family back in Bangladesh.
Migrant workers often do physically straining odd jobs in addition to their day jobs to make ends meet.
Migrant workers in Maldives live in unhygienic and cramped conditions. It is the norm for 50 or more workers to sleep in 8 hours shifts in 20 x 10 ft spaces.
For six months, they received no payment. They went to their employer repeatedly, explaining that they need the money to feed themselves and their families. Their employer refused to pay them, telling them that the company is struggling financially.
They filed a complaint against the company at the Labor Relations Authority and were met with vengeance. As punishment employer cut the electricity from their living quarters.
Desperate and fearful, they came to our advocacy and legal aid centre. We wrote to the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives explaining the situation and asking if a solution could be found.
Our intervention led to a positive outcome and helped solve their immediate problems. Electricity in their living quarters was restored within 24 hours of complaining to the Human Rights Commission.
The case is under investigation by HRCM. At our advocacy and legal aid centre, we are monitoring the situation to ensure that they get their due wages paid to them in full.