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Each year, tens of thousands of migrant workers travel to Singapore hoping for a better life.

Most of them pay large fees to agents who promise them work as labourers in the construction and shipping industries.

When the economy was booming, those promises were largely fulfilled. But as a global recession takes hold, horror stories are emerging.

30-year old Mohamed Ismail from Bangladesh signed a contract with a recruiting agent who promised him a job for a fee of 9,000 Singaporian dollars, around half what the average Bangladeshi earns in a lifetime.


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The agent sent him to work as a labourer for a ship builder. He knew it would be tough but he thought he would eventually return home to his wife and family a rich man.

But after 18 month, Ismail may be forced home with nothing but debts. He is jobless and homeless, reliant on friends and local NGO's for help. 

The film follows Mohamed Ismail and some of his colleagues who have now quit and taken their complaints to Singapore's Ministry of Manpower.

They claim they were not paid for nearly six month, had unfair deductions taken from their salaries and had to pay $100 rent to live in cramp conditions in shipping containers.

Now, Ismail faces the prospect of returning home to his family in Bangladesh with nothing. His migrant dreams have turned into a nightmare.

Source: Al Jazeera