The rescue of Bhutanese girls from Gulf countries brings to light several cross cutting issues in Bhutan.
The current government has carried out a series of mass employment programs from schemes like the GEP of the labour ministry to opening new State Owned Enterprises to sending youth abroad.
A consequence is that there has been a visible impact on the employment scenario, especially for companies in the private sector, who are finding it more difficult to retain or even hire people.
However, there are still a large number of graduates and school pass outs joining the job market every year.
On the other hand Bhutan’s still relatively under-developed private sector has not been able to offer the kinds of ‘high paying’ or ‘white collar’ office jobs that the youth are looking for, as most of them come with high expectations of a cushy government job or a high paying private job.
This has been combined with a mushrooming cottage industry of labour agents, education consultancies and others who seek to fulfill the dreams of the youth whether in getting the perfect college or in getting a dream job abroad.
The reality in many cases is not what the youth have in mind and at times it is not even what is promised to them.
The latest incident only underscores how illegal practices by some agents in the greed for making a quick buck, endangers Bhutanese lives and also the well being of Bhutanese going abroad.
Such cases are also made possible by starry eyed and, at times, desperate youths who do not even do some basic research before going for such dubious offers.
There have also been instances of Bhutanese students being cheated with fake colleges and degrees in our annual education fairs through local educational consultancies.
The Kuwait Embassy and its Ambassador must be commended for its positive and all out efforts in rescuing many Bhutanese girls with efforts going on to get back more. The Labour Ministry in Bhutan also swung into action as soon as it was informed of Bhutanese being illegally sent as maids.
However, back home it is time not only for legal action against the two responsible agencies but a thorough combing operation and strict regulation of all labour agents, educational consultancies and others.
Careers very rarely are a waste of time; jobs usually are.