A 38-year-old woman from Mumbai, who was allegedly trafficked to Kuwait City under the pretext of employment but was forced to work as domestic help for a local resident there, has been rescued with the help of Indian embassy. The victim, identified as Sairabanu Shaikh, was reunited with her husband and other family members Tuesday night after she was rescued with the help of the embassy and a Mumbai-based foundation, her husband said Wednesday.
Shaikh, a Bandra resident who worked as a social worker, said she spent harrowing three months when she was in the Arab country. Shaikh came into contact with a placement agency while she was collecting donation for a community wedding and helping senior citizens. She said the owner of the agency asked her and her husband Haidar Mulla if they are willing to work in Kuwait.
Shaikh said she was told that they are initially supposed to work in an unorganised sector before getting a job that involves taking care of ailing patients in Kuwait. Shaikh said she proceeded to Kuwait in September alone, as the departure visa of her husband was not ready. She said she landed in Kuwait with other women from India and met an agent named Ali. She said Ali sent her to a mansion of an Arab where she was forced to do domestic chores.
"I used to do cooking, cleaning, dusting and mopping, which would start early morning and continued till late night", she said. After working at the mansion for at least a month, Shaikh called up Ali and told him that she didn't want to work there anymore. "Ali contacted my employer and collected my salary. However, he kept me at his home where I was forced to do domestic chores again", Shaikh said, adding that she was not allowed to leave home as she didn't have a civilian ID card of Kuwait.
She alleged that Ali tortured her and demanded Rs 2 lakh for sending her back to India. "By the time, I got a chance to speak to my husband who lodged a complaint with Indian Embassy in Kuwait. He also sought help from Abraham Mathai, the chairperson of Harmony foundation", she said. Shaikh said she managed to sneak out of Ali's residence in Kuwait on December 2 and hired a taxi that took her to the Indian embassy. "After completing all formalities, I was given a flight ticket for India.
I reached here on Tuesday", she said. Her husband Haider expressed happiness. "Whatever my wife suffered should not happen again with any other Indian woman, so we are going to file a complaint at the local police station against the placement company and the agent", he said. Mathai said Shaikh was sent to Kuwait illegally, which is a case of "human trafficking". "It is good to see that she is reunited with her family", said Mathai.
(With inputs from agencies.)