Going abroad to work is a one way ticket to the land of no return for increasing numbers of Sri Lankan poor. Going abroad to work is a one way ticket to the land of no return for increasing numbers of Sri Lankan poor. For Sri Lanka’s rural poor, going abroad to work is the fastest route out of poverty but for increasing numbers of young men and women, going abroad to work is a ticket to death.
Sri Lanka’s Foreign Employment Bureau says that in 2001, 211 men and women died suddenly while working in a foreign country.
In 2002, the number was 228 and in 2003, 217 Sri Lankans working abroad died at work.
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Last year, says the Bureau, 245 people died while working abroad.
Last year’s deaths include 153 natural deaths, 75 accidental deaths, 8 homicides and 9 suicides.
Mostly, the victims of sudden death, are Sri Lankan women working in Middle Eastern countries as housemaids – the most popular occupation and destination for Sri Lankans going abroad to work.
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“We really don’t know how natural or unnatural these deaths are or whether they are really accidents or not,”