Hundreds of Bangladeshi female workers leaving Saudi Arabia alleging 'dupery, torture'

Hundreds of Bangladeshi female workers are gathering in the missions in Riyadh and Jeddah after failing to get promised jobs or allegedly being tortured by employers.

Md Shofi Ullah from Riyadh, Saudi Arabiabdnews24.com
Published : 1 May 2017, 06:56 PM
Updated : 2 May 2017, 08:00 AM

Around 329 such female workers took shelter in the Bangladesh Embassy in Riyadh and the consulate general until Sunday and the number is growing everyday.

Bangladesh Labour Counsellor Sarwar Alam in Saudi Arabia told bdnews24.com that 502 female workers, who had taken shelter in the embassy, were sent back on Mar 29.

Out of the 329 who have taken shelter since then, 74 are in the Jeddah Consulate General while the rest are in the Bangladesh Embassy in Riyadh.

These workers have alleged they did not get the job as promised by agents in Bangladesh. They came to Saudi Arabia through private recruiters as legal workers.  

Some of them said they were promised nurse and peon's posts but they got cleaner's posts.

Most of the workers who have taken shelter at the embassy and the consulate general have gone to Saudi Arabia to work as housemaid.

They have alleged that they were not provided food three times a day, let alone regular payments.

Some of them, on condition of anonymity, also alleged physical and sexual torture by their employers.

One of the workers told bdnews24.com: "I had been told that I would get the job of an assistance of a nurse in a hospital. But I was given the job of a cleaner in a house. Then I was tortured. So I fled and took shelter in the embassy three weeks ago."

Many others, waiting for more time than her, do not know when they can return home.

Some have fallen sick in the overcrowded shelters stretched beyond the capacity.

Jeddah Consulate General official Abu Jara said it has the capacity to shelter 35 but 74 workers have taken shelter there.

He told bdnews24.com that the process to send back 34 of them already started.

He said it 'would not be easy' to send back the 40 others because they fled their employers.

In line with rules, the Saudi Arabia government has to be informed by the employers if any worker flees. It takes time to send back such workers without completing the administrative process.

"We've informed the foreign ministry and now we are waiting for the reply," Abu Jara said.

Asked when all the female workers who have taken shelter in the embassy and the consulate general could be sent back, Bangladesh Ambassador in Saudi Arabia Golam Moshi told bdnews24.com that it is an ongoing process.

"It usually takes two to eight weeks for us to send any worker back after he or she comes to us," he said.

"The workers are regularly taking shelter in the embassy and we are sending them back," he said, adding that the Saudi authorities were 'very cooperative' in this regard.

"The workers leave job by breaching their contracts following misunderstanding most of times. But the Saudi authorities always cooperate with us to send them back," he said.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher