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From Hyderabad to Riyadh: Women trafficked under pretext of jobs

Jeddah: Hyderabad is known as the Information Technology (IT) hub and offers a large pool of talent that contributes to the rapid growth of the city and attracts the attention of national and global players.

However, the dark side of the city is the increasing poverty in some parts of Hyderabad which is becoming a top breeding ground for job recruitment fraud. Every day dozens of poverty-stricken women are sent to Gulf countries by fraudulent agents, falsely promising them remunerative salaries.

Whether it is Muscat or Dubai or Riyadh in the Gulf region Indian Missions have been regularly receiving appeals from Hyderabadi women for rescue and repatriation, in fact, one can find Hyderabadi women in destitute women’s shelter houses that are being operated by Indian embassies.

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Despite repeated cautions by officials, Hyderabadi women still fall into the traps of local agents in desperate attempts to secure a decent future for their families. In fact, most women are aware of hardships abroad yet they are ready to take the risk to get rid of poverty.

The latest case of a 26-year-old young lady, from Aghapura of Hyderabad, in Saudi Arabia illustrates how financial compulsions can make victims of circumstances.

Excelled in studies and a self-esteemed yet poverty-afflicted Hyderabadi young lady was fraudulently brought into Saudi Arabia on the false promise of a lucrative administrative job only to discover that she was duped.

The lady, whose name has been withheld, was a topper in a college and graduated in MA English literature with distinction.

She was wedded last year and within six months of her marriage, her husband was diagnosed with renal failure, as both of his kidneys no longer functioned on their own. In a desperate bid to provide funds for her husband’s treatment, the young educated lady decided to try her luck in the Arabian deserts.

An acquaintance promised her an administrative job in a firm in Riyadh where sizable women work in various capacities and by believing in him she arrived in Saudi Arabia only to discover that the job of a house help for a family awaited her.

She was allegedly forced to longer hours and even deprived of proper food, shocked by cheating, the lady tactically ran away from the employer’s house on the pretext of disposing of garbage, and reached Hara, the Hyderabadi neighbourhood in heart of the city, from where she escaped to the Indian Embassy. She was later shifted to the Indian women’s shelter house run by the embassy.

The story of another woman, Mehrunnisa (31), is not different from the 26-year-old woman.

A native of Musheerabad in Hyderabad, a skilled beautician who arrived in Saudi to be employed in a beauty parlour but was forced to work as a maid, that too without remuneration for eight months, according to her complaint.

It was not her choice of job, but due to poverty and her responsibilities towards her family, she choose to keep the job. However, with the nonpayment of her salary, in addition to harsh working conditions, she was forced to escape.

These young ladies were part of six destitute Indian women from Telugu states, lodged in the Indian Embassy shelter house in Riyadh, desperate to return home.

Their employers had filed cases against them that hindered their departure from Saudi Arabia, however, after a long pursuit by the Indian Embassy’s diplomat S. R. Sajeev, coordinated by noted community worker Nass Vokkam of Kerala, the women were allowed to return home from Dammam and repatriated by the embassy on Wednesday.

Only a few cases are being brought to light whereas the majority of cases go unnoticed in the city.

The Telangana police are known for their best performance in investigating, however, when it comes to women being trafficked into Gulf countries, it fails to display its investigating track record. Loopholes in legal and witness modalities also cause inaction.

The Hyderabadi community is known for its passion for poetry and religious beliefs at home and abroad but when it comes to this dark side it preferred to keep mum.

There is no woman activist from Hyderabad, or anywhere in the Gulf who could counsel and coordinate with those distressed in their hour of need.

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