The harrowing tale of the Hyderabad domestic worker who was treated like a slave in Saudi

Women who are planning to go to Gulf countries for job, be cautious

In another incident of exploitation of Indians who are working abroad, a Hyderabad woman has alleged that she was tortured and sexually exploited in Saudi Arabia. Zainab Begum from Kalaphattar, who was duped for a hospital job in Saudi Arabia, was treated like a slave.

According to the reports published by The News Minute, Zainab was promised a salary of 1200 Saudi riyal per month by a travel agent named Mohammed Ismail. However, she was treated as a slave instead.

On Saturday, she was rescued after which she returned home.

While talking to the daily, she told about her harrowing tale. She told,

There were some 40 members in that family and I had to work minimum 18 to 20 hours. I was beaten up for not getting up early in the morning. There used to be a gathering of around 50 to 75 persons every weekend, for which I had to cook biryani. I had to do the entire work from cooking to washing utensils to cleaning work in the entire home.

Zainab was neither given proper food and accommodation nor any salary. Instead, she was beaten, made to work long hours and was also sexually exploited. She was not even allowed to keep a phone and talk to her family.
At one point, she locked herself in the bathroom and attempted suicide by drinking phenyl.

Her horrifying ordeal didn’t end as she was locked up in a room for many days. Her health deteriorated to the extent that she vomited blood for 15-days.

When Zainab told about her condition to the Kafeel (sponsor) who visited employer’s house, he told that he had paid Rs 3 lakh to the agent and that the agreement was for 2 years. Rather than helping Zainab, Kafeel told that the only way she could return to India was if she returned the amount or found another woman to replace her.

However, she got a chance to ask for help when Zainab went outside to throw garbage. She narrated her ordeal and pleaded for help from a Bengali man who was working in another house nearby. The man helped her contacting her son after which she told her family of the torture she was facing in Saudi.

When her family was informed, they met the local agent, Mohammed Ismail and demanded Zainab’s immediate return. They then approached Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT) spokesperson Amjed Ullah Khan for help.

Khan brought the issue to the notice of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Telangana NRI Affairs Minister KT Rama Rao, and the Indian Embassy in Riyadh. Then Embassy officials met Zainab and counselled her. Meanwhile, the Telangana government also wrote a letter to the Centre and requested for Zainab’s immediate rescue.

A police case was registered against Mohammed Ismail and he was sent to jail.

After being rescued, Zainab met her family in Hyderabad and Khan. She also thanked the MBT spokesperson for helping her. Zainab has demanded stern action against the travel agent who cheated her. She also cautioned women who are planning to go to Gulf countries and asked them to conduct a proper background check so that nobody else suffers like her.