Mangaluru, Oct 27, 2017: With the ministry of external affairs (MEA) finding it difficult to control the menace of fraud visas, especially to Saudi Arabia, it has asked the Karnataka government to weed out unscrupulous recruiting agents.
The letter by Ahmad Javed, ambassador to Saudi Arabia to Subhash Chandra Khuntia, chief secretary of Karnataka has sought the help of departments concerned and local police so that fake agents sending locals with false promises to Saudi Arabia for jobs are curbed.
Such incidents have been taking place for several decades where people, especially from the coastal belt, in search of greener pastures land in Saudi Arabia as victims of human trafficking and more worse turned into slaves of Saudi employers. However, the MEA is taking strict action after the incident of Jacintha Mendonca, a resident of Udupi, who was human-trafficked and made a slave in Saudi Arabia.
The two-page letter, explaining why curbing fake agents is the need of the hour, states that the embassy comes into picture when a victim of agents face problems with the Saudi sponsor after arrival there. More so, in the case of female workers, there is a clear trend of bypassing the legal channel (as envisaged under the bilateral agreement on domestic service workers). Instead, agents route them via a third country like UAE/ Qatar/ Oman/ Bahrain on a tourist visa and then to Saudi Arabia on employment visa, circumventing emigration checks at Indian airports.
The letter points out that agents who entrap the gullible, poor and mostly illiterate women, extract huge amounts from them, and also give them false promises regarding actual nature of work, local conditions, provisions of leave, among other things. When the worker experiences difficulties in Saudi Arabia, the agent goes incommunicado which escalates the problem as it is the responsibility of the RA to bail the worker out.
"Moreover, the disappearance of agents who have all the required details of the worker and the Saudi sponsor, protracts the resolution of the worker’s problem, causing immense suffering to the worker as well as to the distraught family in India. Furthermore, this makes the task of the embassy to assist, a daunting one, as without the basic details we cannot proceed ahead," the letter said.
Such stories grab media headlines, particularly social media and bring undue pressure on the government machinery and also malign India’s image abroad and the host country too.
Our foundation has written to former DK DC Dr KG Jagadeesha regarding fake recruiting agents operating in the district several months ago. But, he hasn’t taken any interest to look into this serious issue. Sources claim that more agents are active in Mangaluru and trap victims from DK, Udupi and neighbouring districts.