Traumatized Sumi back home from KSA but ...
Sumi Akter, a 25-year-old Bangladeshi migrant to Saudi Arabia, is came back home by the flight of Air Arabia on Friday morning with the support of Bangladeshi Consulate General of Jeddah.
Sumi recently posted a video on her Facebook ID that became viral on the social media seeking help to save her after being physically assaulted by her employers.
According to Sumi Akter's allegation, her employer poured hot oil on her arms.
"I perhaps won't live longer. Please save me. They locked me up for 15 days and barely gave me any food. They hit me and then burned my arms with hot oil," she said in Bengali as she wept and showed scars on her arms.
"They took me from one home to another. At the first home, they tortured me and hit me repeatedly and then took me to another where I underwent the same experienced."
In the video, Akter is seen holding the phone close to her face as she apparently hides from her employers, secretly recording her plea for help. She also alleged that she was sexually assaulted by her employers.
Responding to Akter's urge to save, the authorities concern of Bangladesh consulate rescued Akter from her employer and gave her shelter at the safe home of the authority. She was then brought back to Bangladesh on Friday morning, according to a Shariful Islam Hasan, the head of migration programme of BRAC, a Bangladeshi NGO working to bring the tortured migrants home from different country.
Akter also said in another video posted a month ago, she had not got positive response from the Bangladeshi government or the broker, who initially arranged her work in Saudi Arabia when asking for assistance.
Akter's video has led to widespread criticism and protests on the streets of Bangladesh's Dhaka, following false reports on social media that she was dead.
Her video came after the body of a female migrant worker was repatriated to Bangladesh from Saudi Arabia in late October.
Not only Sumi Akter, thousands of Bangladesh female migrants are coming back home after being tortured by their employers. Not only female workers, a huge number of male workers are also being repatriated by the Saudi Authority recently.
According to BRAC Migration programme, more than 21,000 Bangladeshi migrant workers, a big chunk of them are female, are coming back home, largely due to facing language and educational problem. Of those, most are coming back within three to six months of their migration to the country with employment.
Most of the maid, who came from rural area background, had flown to Saudi Arabia without having sufficient knowledge on Arabic language and education. The government provides them a three-week long language course, but that's not sufficient and as a result, they couldn't cope with the environment, and had to face torturous situation all the way.
Without any education, it is always tough to adjust with any overseas condition throwing them into a hapless condition.
Figures compiled by BRAC noted that, in this year alone, the bodies of 48 female workers were brought back to Bangladesh from Saudi Arabia.
Earlier this year, the Bangladesh government admitted for the first time that women had returned home from Saudi Arabia because of sexual abuse.
Since 1991, at least 300,000 Bangladeshi women have travelled to Saudi Arabia for work, according to the Ministry of Expatriates' Welfare.
Remittances are the second biggest source of income for Bangladesh's economy, with the government recently ruling out proposals to issue a ban on female workers going to the Gulf kingdom.
State Minister for External Affairs Shahriar Alam recently gave necessary directive to ensure quickest and safe return of Sumi Akhter, who went to Saudi Arabia for work.
Sumi finished her house work training in January this year. On 30 May, she went to Saudi Arabia through Saudi Arabian Airlines from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
Her recruitment was done through now-suspended 'Sonar Bangla Overseas'. As the company doesn't have right to process her visa, another company Jyoti International processed her visa and clearance from the BMET.
Finally, she flied to catch the golden horse leaving her family behind. After going there, she communicated her relatives about the torture inflicted upon her in that country.
Sumi did not know that the brokers told her and as a result, she was beaten, tortured and was also sexually harassed.
Sumi Akhter is the daughter of Rafiqul Islam of Boda Sadar Police Station in Panchagarh district. Two years ago, she got married to Nurul Islam of Charabagh in Ashulia.
The Bangladeshi government urged the state agency responsible for sending people to work abroad to send the women back home as soon as possible.
The authority has already communicated with the Saudi authorities concerned. They have responded positively. The ministry is sending a delegation to the country towards the last week of this month. They will discuss the problem elaborately there.
Last month, Bangladeshi migrant rights group Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Programme said 61 per cent of 110 women they interviewed who came back to their country, many from Saudi Arabia, claimed they were physically abused.
Some 14 per cent said they were sexually abused, the group added.
The Saudi kingdom adopts the kafala system, which "gives sponsoring employers substantial control over workers and leaves workers vulnerable to situations of trafficking and forced labor," according to the Human Rights Watch.
The sponsorship system legally binds domestic workers to their employers, giving them very limited legal protection. The widely-condemned system exists in different forms in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, and Lebanon.
According to Al Jazeera, at least 66 Bangladeshi female workers have died in Saudi Arabia over the past four years, 52 of whom had committed suicide.