Gulf dreams continue to go sour

Trafficking of women in old city goes on despite police claims of checking the practice.

By Author  |  Published: 22nd Jan 2017  11:43 pm
File photo: Body of asima khatoon, died in Saudi Arabia being brought to city.

Hyderabad: Women from the city continue to be trafficked to Gulf countries despite police claims of curbing the illegal practice.

In 2016 alone, four cases were registered in various police stations in the old city against travel agents for luring women with promises of a bright future in Gulf countries. Another three complaints were also made at various police stations against the travel agents by the family members of victims.

“In all the cases, the victims are from poor families and got carried away by the promise of good salaries. The police are not registering FIRs in all cases and point out that the victims had gone illegally,” says MBT leader Amjedullah Khan who took up several cases with the government.
He explains that a well-oiled syndicate of brokers and travel agencies from Hyderabad to the Middle East countries is regularly trafficking women.

“The authorities had announced a clampdown on sending women as domestic servants following a series of unsavoury incidents. Now, agents are sending them on tourist visa or through pushing method,” Khan said.

Deceived on landing
Once the women reach the foreign destination, the recruiting agency picks them up from the airport. They are then taken to the house of their employer and are assigned household duties, including cooking, washing clothes and utensils.

“Only big families appoint khadima and the work is more. The agents hide these facts and the women feel cheated when they are assigned the huge task,” says Mirza Faiz Baig, an accountant who worked in a company Saudi Arabia for seven years.

Moreover, the Saudi laws prohibit a woman from moving without her mahram (guardian), which is mandatory in certain cases. “So they are often restricted to the four walls and feel homesick. Employers don’t bother to take them to hospitals even if they fall sick,” says Amjedullah Khan.

He points out that in some cases, the victims narrated their ordeal using mobile phones and sent the videos through WhatsApp. Their problems were communicated to Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, through Twitter who took up the issue with the Indian Consulate in Saudi Arabia.

Cases against agents
The city police had arrested several agents involved in trafficking women to Gulf countries. Deputy Commissioner of Police, V Satyanarayana, said that cases were registered against 25 agents in last two years.

“We regularly conduct cordon and search on offices of travel agents and register cases against them if any discrepancies are noticed,” Satyanarayana said.