Middle Eastern countries are notorious for their treatment of foreign labor and domestic help – and Saudi Arabia tops that list.
According to Middle East Eye, more than 100 Bangladeshi women working in the conservative kingdom were able to return home following sexual abuse and torture allegations.
Some of the maids, who had travelled to the Gulf country in hopes of earning a better livelihood in order to support their families back home, either escaped their abusive households and contacted the Bangladeshi embassy in Saudi Arabia or asked the local authorities for help.
They were then reportedly sent to the immigration safe houses where they waited for months, if not years, for their paperwork to come through.
Although these women were able to escape their cruel employers, they have enough bruises, puncture wounds and burns to remind the world of the violence they suffered during their time in the Middle Easter country.
“My sponsor had tried to abuse me sexually, on several occasions,” a 21-year-old former maid, identified as Robina, told Middle East Eye. “But whenever I said no, they would beat me until I stopped resisting.”
She was there for only six months.
“Almost all of them were subjected to abuse – albeit sexual, physical and non-payment of wages,” Shariful Hasan, from non-profit BRAC's migration program, told the publication. “Some said they were raped by men in their employers' family, while some complained that they were forced into the sex trade, and were tortured if they refused.”
BRAC is the world’s largest international development organization.
The group’s based in Bangladesh and has been helping the repatriated sexual abuse victims who have been ostracized by their husbands, families and communities.
“Saudi people know if they torture a Bangladeshi girl nothing will happen,” Hasan continued.
It is important to note none of the alleged abusers have reportedly been arrested or charged for their crimes by the Saudi authorities.
This is not the first time Saudi Arabia has made headlines for its mistreatment of foreign help.
In 2016, a Filipino working as a maid in the kingdom, Irma Avila Edloy, succumbed to severe wounds while in coma. The officials believed her injuries were a result of sexual assault. While she was unable to identify her assailant, the 35-year-old pointed at her boss when asked who abused her.
Earlier this year, a Saudi woman was accused of forcing her Filipino maid to drink bleach. The maid was taken to the hospital in a serious condition.
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