Asian migrants are not for sale

I’ve been unable to trace any coverage of a Beirut workshop held last week on the topic of migration from the Asia-Pacific region to the Middle East. But a well-written Concept Note by the UN Economic and Social Commission filled the gap.

What stood out was the bracketing of migration with the language of strategic economic management; for example: “more countries in Asia have started officially deploying migrant workers, thereby increasing competition between deploying countries and decreasing their bargaining power.”

There’s something uncomfortably de-humanizing about this packaging of people, as though they were destined for shipping containers. Sure enough, in today’s Daily Star from Bangladesh, officials were celebrating last year’s record remittances of $11.6 billion and their impressive impact on poverty reduction.

But the World Bank man lowered the tone by salivating over the prospective building boom for the 2022 Qatar World Cup. “As manpower is cheap in Bangladesh, there is vast potential for exporting manpower there.” Ouch.


this post was first published by OneWorld UK