A 42-year-old woman from India, Jacintha Mendonca, has recently been sent back to India after she suffered a 14-month ordeal in Saudi Arabia where she was forced to work as a ‘slave’ in a house. Ms Jacintha was allegedly fooled by a Mumbai-based recruiting agency into believing that she would be offered a highly-paid job in Qatar.
Initially, she was taken to Dubai from where she was flown to Saudi Arabia. It was here that she was ‘enslaved’ for 14 months.
Mendonca was admitted to the AV Baliga Hospital in Udupi, Karnataka. “I had a hellish experience in Yanbu. I was made to work day in, day out at three mansions belonging to the employer’s mother, his three wives and their children. I was tortured like an animal,” she said, reported NDTV.
Mendonca was not allowed to go outside the house even for short walks and was regularly insulted by the children in the house.
She managed to escape once in November 2016 but was caught by the police and returned to her ‘owner’. Her employer thrashed her after the failed escape bid and did not even offer water despite her pleading.
When non-profit body, Human Rights Protection Foundation of Udupi got to know about Mendonca, it contacted the head of a non-resident Indians’ forum, Roshan Rodrigues, in Saudi Arabi in April this year. It was then that the volunteers helped her get back to India.
Ms Mendonca was reunited with her family at Mundrangady in Udupi district on 22 September. She has appealed to the Indian authorities to book the people who have cheated her – she does not want to return to the Gulf ever again.
Ravindra Shanbagh of the Udupi Human Rights Foundation said they found her employer in Saudi Arabia after several attempts.
The Logical Indian spoke to Mrs Shaheen Sayyed, a social activist based in Kuwait who has been working very hard for these women who are treated like ‘slaves’ in the households of the wealthy. She said, “I have my heartfelt empathy for Ms Mendonca, and I am happy that she is back in her own country. In most of the cases, the employers are not ready to hand over the passports of these women, and it becomes challenging to help them come back to India.”
“The situation is horrible, and these women face a lot of torture at the hands of the employers. It is important to ban the entry of women as domestic help,” she added.
The Logical Indian community condemns the entire episode and urges the concerned authorities to look into the matter and ensure the fact that similar incidents are stopped from recurring. It is important for the government to deal with this problem in its entirety.