Satyavati was treated like a slave by her employer in Bahrain
This is yet another heart-rending story of a poor woman’s journey abroad for greener pastures turning traumatic.
For 21 years, Akana Satyavati lived almost like a slave in the houses of an employer in Bahrain. Having run from pillar to post in Bahrain to come back home for the past several years, she finally landed here on Thursday. She couldn’t save a single rupee even after 21 years of sweat and toil.
All that the woman from Gondi village of Sakhinetipalli mandal in East Godavari district carries with her are painful memories of losing the prime of her life thousands of miles away from family. “I flew to Bahrain when I was 42 years old with full energy and vigour. Now I am here, a physical wreck. The only thing that makes me happy is that I am finally with my family,” she broke down. Victimisation started in her life in 1991 when the broker, who collected money assuring her a job in Kuwait, told her on reaching Mumbai airport that she was being sent to Bahrain instead. Ms. Satyavati, an illiterate, was helpless and could not even protest. She silently boarded the flight and landed in Bahrain.
Since she had earlier worked in Kuwait as domestic help and returned home with some savings, she hoped to provide a better life to her five children by saving money for their future. All her dreams were shattered as her employer didn’t even complete the formalities of getting her residence permit and passport renewed. She served her employer and his 11 children for 21 years. While the employer’s children grew up, got married and settled in life, her own children here didn’t even know whether she was alive.
On being informed by some Telugu people working in Bahrain that they spotted her once there, her son Srinivas flew to Bahrain in 2002 on work permit. While working there, he started looking out for his mother and finally traced her. But Satyavati’s employer refused to let her return to India and threatened Srinivas with imprisonment. “With the help of her son, she even approached the Indian Embassy in 2007 and again in 2011, but couldn’t secure any support,” P. Laxman, faculty member of the Regional Centre for Urban and Environmental Studies, said.
Mr. Laxman conveyed the pathetic story of Satyavati to Migrant Workers Protection Society, a voluntary organisation in Bahrain, through another Hyderabad-based organisation Migrant Rights Council. The Society took up her case with the Indian Embassy. Finally, she returned to Hyderabad. For Satyavati, the harrowing times are over and a new chapter begins in her life at the age 63.