Hyderabad: Twenty-one women, who were sent to Saudi Arabia from the Old City area of Hyderabad on visas for domestic servants by agents in Malakpet, have lost contact with their families back home. Two maids from Hyderabad have died in the last two years in Saudi Arabia, allegedly due to torture.
The 21 women are from Chaderghat, Falaknuma, Charminar, Bahadurpura, Rein Bazar, Malakpet and Vattepally.
“Families of 21 women had come to us seeking help to bring them back safely. Most of them have also approached the police. The families have had no contact with the women after they left for Saudi,” said M.B.T. Amjed Ullah Khan, who has been helping trapped victims to get back to Hyderabad.
The women were told that their job would be to take care of children and old patients. They were also promised good salaries. Instead, they have to work for 18 to 20 hours every day and get only a much smaller salary. Some of them have been able to secretly call or text their family members in Hyderabad about their condition. The women were approached by agents who are working for Saudi-based recruiters and employers.
“There are also women agents in the city. A woman agent from Asman Garh used to visit the houses of low income families and tell the women they could get comfortable jobs and good pay. Only after reaching Saudi Arabia do the victims realise that they will not even get half the salary they were promised. Since the employer has a contract with the agents here, the trapped victim cannot come back without finishing the contract period, in effect making her a bonded labourer,” Amjed Ullah Khan said.
“Most of these agents get at least Rs 3 lakh from the employers for recruiting each Khadima (domestic servant). That’s why they hunt for gullible women from poor families in Hyderabad,” he added.Though many such cases have been reported, women still fall into the trap of unscrupulous agents.
“The ordeal of maids in Saudi is widely known in our city. Still women from poor families have no way out but try their luck. They face horror,” said MIM leader Shahbas Ahmed Khan, who helped some victims.