Preethi Selvaraj, a 43-year-old woman from Kerala, has allegedly become a victim of brutal abuse and torture at the hands of an Arab family. The woman has alleged that she was offered a nanny's job in Doha with a salary of Rs 23,000 per month, just what she needed to ease her family's financial difficulties.
Preethi lived in a rented home at Njarackkal with her mother, husband and three children, with the family's sole income coming from her husband. Due to the lack of his husband's stable job and the family staying afloat with his meagre income, the job offer was irresistible for her.
On March 4, 2020, she landed in Doha on a visit visa she had availed with the help of two local 'agents' — Saleem and Zakheer. But soon, her dreams of earning good and helping her family were shattered, The New Indian Express reported.
Victim Of Abuse And Torture
Like many poor women from India who are illegally dispatched as house helps to the Gulf countries, Preethi too became a victim of brutal abuse and torture at the hands of an Arab family. She, however, managed to return to Kochi on July 9 this year after a person working with a social organisation in Qatar intervened.
"I am lucky to have managed to return home safely. After my husband raised the issue with a Kerala activist, someone from a social organisation in Qatar intervened in my case. My life was a living hell there from the very first day. Though I informed my agents of the torture I was undergoing at the house after two months, they didn't pay any heed. I was forced to continue working there for one year and four months," Preethi told The New Indian Express.
"When I repeatedly pleaded the family to allow me to return to my home, they told me I was bought as a slave by paying lakhs to those agents. I was forced to work tirelessly without a break and was only allowed to eat the food they dumped as waste. Two women in the family used to beat me up regularly. They also snatched my mobile phone to prevent me from calling my family. I could only take rest for four hours every day. When I persistently demanded to be allowed to return home, they stopped paying me my wages too. I worked without salary for four months," recalls Preethi, who lodged an official complaint on July 26.
Meanwhile, an officer with the Protector of Emigrants (PoE) said that the women planning to work as maids or nannies in foreign countries should never believe local agents.
"Proceed only after consulting the PoE with relevant details. These agents lure vulnerable people who are not very educated and are unfamiliar with the rules. Moreover, they take money from Arab families claiming that they are providing them with a slave to do all their chores," the officer said.
Njarackkal Circle Inspector Rajan K Aramana said that a case has been registered under IPC Section 370 against the accused, who worked as local agents. "We have launched a detailed probe to ascertain whether the two local agents have sent more such people to the Middle East," he added.