Promised a highly paid decent job by a recruiting agent, a 35-year-old Anganwadi teacher left for Saudi Arabia with great hopes.
But she ended up working for long hours with inadequate food, little rest and low wages. “This is a new life for me now,” says a relieved Sk. Mumtaz, who was rescued by the Human Rights Council of India South India president Sk. Khaifa Thulla Basha, after getting in touch with the Indian Embassy officials there following a complaint from her relatives here.
Ms. Khaifa went to Riyadh to work as a domestic help for 1,200 Saudi Riyals (about Rs 22,000) a month through an agent. Her happiness was short-lived as she was allegedly subjected to physical and mental torture at the hands of her Saudi employer, who forced her to work for 18 hours a day and underpaid her, she complains on her return after an eight-month-long ordeal. “There were 20 members in the house where I worked. I was asked to clean the cleaned vessels again and again and beaten up for asking questions. I was allowed to speak over phone once in 10 days or so with my son for a few minutes,” she complains.
The case of 35-year-old Sk. Beebi Jan is no different. “I did not think I will be able to return home alive,” says the woman with tears running down her cheeks, recounting the torture meted out to her by the overseas employer, who allegedly tried to misbehave with her.
“I kept my heart and soul together with whatever leftover food given to me after working continuously for more than 15 hours a day,” she says.
For Sk. Munni from Markapur too it was a nightmarish experience there as her passport and other travel documents were taken away from her soon after she landed there. She was asked to pay Rs. 2 lakh, the amount paid by her overseas employer to the recruiting agent, for sending her back home.
Financial problems forced these women to look for greener pastures in West Asian countries, says Mr. Basha, who is in the process of rescuing another seven women, including the sister of Sk. Beebi Jan, from there.
The HRC found that there are at least 50 semi-skilled women from here working in the Gulf with or without proper travel documents, he adds.
These agents go to interior villages scouting for good-looking gullible women and lure them by promising a decent job in the Gulf. They arrange for passport and other travel documents and collect the money for the same from their overseas associates, explains Mr. Basha.
Those in distress could call toll-free 18002000595 or 9705975099.