Udupi, April 6, 2017: A woman from Karkala has allegedly been trapped in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, for the last 10 months, according to Udupi-based Human Rights Protection Foundation (HRPF). Addressing presspersons here on Wednesday, Ravindranath Shanbhag, HRPF president, said that Jacinta Mendonca (42) was looking for a job after her husband’s death last year.
James, a sub-agent from Mangaluru, informed her about a housemaid’s job in Qatar. Mr. James also got her the passport, visa and the ticket. On June 19, 2016, she left but was surprised to land in Saudi Arabia instead of Qatar. This she learnt from the driver who picked her up at the airport.
She was then forced to work 16 hours every day and was allegedly assaulted by her employer and his family twice. She managed to contact her children in December, with the help of some Indian drivers in Yanbu.
The children approached an MLA, who helped them contact the Indian embassy in Riyadh. The embassy officials also sought the details of her employer and the recruitment agency.
But the children could not provide them and approached the HRPF on December 30, 2016.
On the advice of HRPF, the particulars of Mr. James and the alleged main recruiting agent, Shabha Khan from Mumbai, were obtained. A police complaint was lodged in Mangaluru and though Mr. James was caught, they did not get much out of him.
This year in January, HRPF contacted the NRI Forum, Bengaluru, and contacted the Indian embassy in Riyadh again and obtained the details of the employer.
When contacted, he asserted that he had obtained Ms. Mendonca’s services as a housemaid for two years and had already paid 24,000 Saudi riyals (roughly Rs. 5 lakh) to Mr. Khan.
He added that Ms. Mendonca could be sent back only if that sum was refunded.
In February, Ms. Mendonca managed to call HRPF and spoke to them about her ordeal. HRPF sought the help of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj over Twitter. Within 24 hours, her senior official contacted HRPF and took the necessary particulars.
“Her children are now awaiting Ms. Mendonca’s return,” Mr. Shanbhag added.
Courtesy: The Hindu