Between windows and walls.
An inquiry into the state of migrant workers in the Maldives.
[L]ittle islands with luxury price tags; the Maldives is world renowned for its jewel like atolls, powder fine pearly sands and endless blue sky. The booming service and construction industries have created a metropolis for South Asian migrant workers seeking a way out of poverty in their homelands. But inbetween the cracks of the ever emerging Lego-like island city of Malé, lies a festering slum that is slowly but surely ascending to where the sun shines in paradise.
Thousands of Bangladeshi workers in the Maldives risk serious exploitation everyday often forced labor and human rights violations. An old story now, high debts from extortionate recruitment fees and confiscation of passports and contracts often leave these men at the mercy of corrupt agents. Most do not speak enough English or Dhivehi to fully grasp the gravity of their situation. Often in states in hyper-awareness they experience calamity in its purest form, as duration. They pray for Shundor Jeebon (the beautiful life) risking all that they have.
The Maldives has now been on the US State Department’s Tier Two Watch List for Human Trafficking for three consecutive years.