UAE, Nov 14, 2019: A young woman working as a maid in a Saudi household went viral after claiming she had been sexually abused and tortured by her boss in a secret video shared on social media.
The footage, which was posted on Facebook recently, showed Bangladeshi housekeeper Sumi Akter weeping as she revealed the extent of the ongoing abuse she had been subjected to in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s second-largest city.
The 25-year-old weeps throughout the clips and says she allegedly faces “merciless sexual assaults” by her Saudi employers, according to Aljazeera.
“I perhaps won’t live longer. Please save me,” she says in her native Bengali.
“They locked me up for 15 days and barely gave me any food. They burned my arms with hot oil and tied me up.
“They took me from one home to another one. In the first home, they tortured me and hit me repeatedly and then took me to another one where I experienced the same.
“I don’t think I’m going to live. I think I’m going to die. They have beaten and tortured me. Please save me, just take me away from here.”
The video was shared countless times and prompted the Bangladesh government to intervene and call for Ms Akter’s removal from Saudi Arabia “as soon as possible”.
It also sparked widespread protests in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, with citizens slamming the woman’s treatment.
According to the non-government organisation Building Resources Across Communities (BRAC), Ms Akter’s phone was confiscated by her boss after the video went viral.
BRAC was working to free the woman, and it is believed she has since been returned home.
However, Ms Akter’s story is not unique.
Since 1991, around 300,000 Bangladeshi women have moved to Saudi Arabia in search of work, and over the years, similar harrowing stories of mistreatment have emerged.
Hundreds of thousands of female workers have also travelled to the Gulf nation from other developing countries over the years.
Just last month, the body of Nazma Begum was recovered from Saudi Arabia.
Ms Begum reportedly called her son several times before her death to claim she had been subjected to torture, and it has been reported she died from an illness that was left untreated.
Last year, an Indonesian maid was executed in Saudi Arabia for killing her employer during a rape attack, causing unrest in Jakarta.
And in 2016, Filipino maid Irma Edloy died in hospital from injuries caused by a suspected rape at the hands of her Saudi boss.
In January that year, the Ugandan Government banned maids working in Saudi Arabia after the local media reported cases of mistreatment.