In the last month, 121 women have returned from the country
Another 30 Bangladeshi domestic workers have returned to Bangladesh, who say they have faced abuse — including physical assault and rape — at the hands of their employers in Saudi Arabia (KSA).
An Air Arabia flight carrying the returnees landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport around 8:15pm Sunday.
“Thirty Bangladeshi housemaids, who escaped from their jobs being unable to tolerate torture and were living miserably in that country, have returned this evening,” said Al Amin, a spokesman for the Migration Program under the non-governmental organization Brac.
Every year thousands of underprivileged women from rural areas go to Saudi Arabia with a view to changing their fortunes.
However, a significant number of these women come back to the country due to inhuman torture and misbehavior from the Saudi employers.
Jeasmin Begum, a 48-year old woman from Comilla, went to KSA two months ago with the help of a local broker. Since her husband, the lone income source of her eight-member family had died, she decided to go abroad to support the family.
Before her to Bangladesh on Sunday, she had worked for two months without any pay.
“When I asked for my salaries, my employer misbehaved with me saying that he had paid my salaries for three months to my broker. They treated me like an animal and did not provide necessary food, medicine and clothes,” Jeasmin told the Dhaka Tribune.
“The broker lent me Tk14,000 for high interest. Now I have returned empty-handed. I do not even know how I will get to my home as I have no bus fare,” she said.
Safia Begum from Shariatpur is another victim who used to work in Riyadh. She went there around two-and-a-half years ago. During her stay in KSA, her employer paid only one year’s wages, she said.
“I have six daughters and they have grown up. Since my husband is physically disabled, we have no money to arrange their marriages. I worked all day long but they did not pay me regularly. I asked for my wages, and they beat me up,” she said.
“Thousands of Bangladeshi women are living miserably in Saudi safe houses and jails. The Saudi employers are inhuman. I urge Bangladesh government not to send a single woman to that country,” she added.
Last month, 121 female expats who used to work as housemaids have returned to Bangladesh. Most of them have recounted horros stories of violent torture and sexual assault during their stay in KSA.