Cheated Indian women workers still stranded
A total of 32 Indian women have been awaiting repatriation for months at a shelter house after recruitment agencies back home conned them into thinking they were being hired for jobs other than domestic servants.
Officials have since been unable to track the recruitment agencies that sent them to the Kingdom, sources said, while the sponsors of these women, who live mainly in Riyadh, are demanding compensation for the expenses they incurred getting these maids hired.
Expenses range anywhere between SR16,000 to SR40,000.
These women are losing hope of ever going back home since their sponsors are demanding huge sums of amount that they claim they had spent toward bringing these maids to the Kingdom.
Most of these women are in the younger age bracket and come from southern Indian states, while many are well-educated and speak fluent English.
Some are falling ill, while the condition of Satyavati, another maid at the shelter, is deteriorating, according to sources.
Some of these maids had escaped from their employers within a mere ten days to two months of their arrival.
These women were lodged at a shelter house operated by Interior Ministry in Riyadh, but there may be many more at deportation centers in other provinces.
“I was promised a job as a domestic servant with a decent family in Madinah, so I accepted the offer,” said one woman, who requested anonymity.
“I was desperate to earn SR3,661 for my daughter’s operation, which is why I came to the Kingdom.”
“I haven’t received a single riyal. How, then, should I be liable to pay the entire cost of the recruitment process.”
“I was compelled to run away because I haven’t been paid in five months,” said another inmate.
“I was brought to this shelter house after working in Al-Ahsa for a few months since I have no documents in my possession,” said Khaja Begum from Hyderabad.
A consular team from the Indian Embassy visits these women occasionally, but have been unable to obtain immigration clearance from the Saudi passports office since employers are refusing to allow them out of the country.
According to a report issued by the Labor Ministry, 65,000 domestic servants absconded from their employers last year alone, almost half of whom are women working as housemaids.
Housemaids from Indonesia account for more than half of all domestic servants in the Kingdom, followed by the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Ethiopia.
Indian housemaids are expected to flood into the Kingdom, however, following recent agreements.
Most maids run away after being overworked, mistreated or made to live in substandard conditions with poor and delayed pay.