Kottayam: The travails of Keralite women who were trafficked to Kuwait by recruiters with alleged links to the dreaded terror organisation, Islamic State, have come to light after three escaped and returned home from Kuwait.
The escapees include natives of Fort Kochi who was promised a babysitter job and another from Itthithanam, near Chanagancherry, in the Kottayam district. The latter claimed she was sold as a slave in Kuwait by the human trafficking racket which had duped her after promising a tailoring job with pay of Rs 45,000 per month.
"I did housemaid’s work day and night and endured severe physical assault even for slip-ups," the Itthithanam native said, adding "I was to do all the work, including cooking, cleaning, housekeeping and laundry. Besides, I was to take care of the 9 little children in that house."
The 48-year-old had reached Kuwait in late January after contacting an agent.
"I could only stand and watch as the agent walked away with a bundle of currency notes after leaving me in a house in Kuwait. From then on, I was a slave in an Arab’s house," she recalled.
"Kuboos and plain water were the only food given and that too I could get hardly one a day. They slapped me for any minor mistake. They stomped heavily on my pelvis, walked all over my body wearing high-heeled chappals and beat me to a pulp,” she added.
She escaped from the racket and reached home after rescue efforts by her family with the help of the Indian Embassy.
How she fell to the racket
Like many others the woman wanted to work abroad so that she could renovate her house and marry off children. Here she recounts how she fell to the trap even as she is yet to recover from the trauma:
"I was convinced about the job prospects in the Gulf after a friend who works in Kuwait as a home nurse reassured me. Soon I transferred Rs 80,000 to the bank account of one Gayathri from Thiruvananthapuram for visa and ticket expenses as was told by Ali, a native of Kannur.
The agent told me that those who have not passed their 10th grade cannot go to Kuwait directly. I reached Kuwait via Dubai. I met the agent in person for the first time on reaching there.
The agent took me to his flat, where two other Malayali women were waiting. Later, 15 more women joined us. He ensured that we were not exchanging our contact numbers while we were sitting together. I noted the numbers of a few of them in a book that I had on me. There were girls as young as 18 years in that group.
Day and night were all alike in the mansion where I worked. With no space to lie down and rest, I used to sit and doze off. I had even thought of committing suicide while going through all the suffering, deprived of sleep and food. I didn’t have the guts to climb over the wall and get out from that premises as a senior man in that house worked with the Police. I continued being a slave there enduring all the assaults for 2 months. They paid Rs 25,000 then. Once, when I got a chance to call up my family, I told them about my misery.
Later, after much efforts from the family as they attempted to rescue me with the help of the Embassy, the agent agreed to let me go. As the agent had ‘sold’ me and got money, another woman had to be sent as a replacement to endure the suffering when I left."
Earlier the Fort Kochi native too had narrated her hardship.