While 81 migrant workers returning from Vietnam were incarcerated for more than a month, before finally being released from prison over this past week, the recruiting agents who sent them to the Southeast Asian country in the first place are going scot-free and denying all claims of trafficking.
They are emboldened by the fact that such workers' recruitment, employment, and paper processing are dealt with by up to three layers of recruiting agents.
Often the agency who represents a worker on his/her emigration clearance -- that means the agency officially sending the worker abroad -- has never even met the worker or seen the worker's paperwork.
So, in the case of the migrant workers returning from Vietnam, all paper trails point back to the agency listed on the emigration clearance -- the agency the worker had never met and has little evidence against.
These agencies are now denying trafficking charges, saying they had not even met the workers and their licences were misused by others.
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Meanwhile, the intermediary agencies too are flat-out denying sending the workers to Vietnam, confident that the only thread linking them to this trafficking are the workers' verbal testimonies.
Over the last few months, Brac's Migration Programme unit interviewed 120 migrant workers in Vietnam to map out the actors involved.