Debts haunt jailed Bangladeshi migrants

From Global development | The Guardian Mon Jan 7 2013, 07:00:01

Remittances to Bangladesh dwarf foreign aid, but as Biltu Mia and 19 others who ended up in a Tanzanian prison discovered, working abroad is beset with problems

The guard had a shiny bald head and bloodshot eyes. Every time he walked by, he spat and muttered in Swahili, "Beggars! Stinking beggars!"

Biltu Mia, 31, from the Manikganj district of central Bangladesh, cannot get the memory out of his head. He spent nearly a year in Tanzania's notorious Ukonga prison, on the outskirts of Dar-es-Salaam, after being picked up by immigration police in October 2011.

Mia says he slept in a space 3ft across and had to trade prison food for a tunic after his only shirt started to rot. The toilets overflowed and the guards carried out rectal searches when hunting for cigarettes and contraband.

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