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Fake agencies recruiting Indian girls for overseas jobs

Asha (name changed on request) was lucky enough to escape from the clutches of the family she was working as a domestic help in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, but there are hundreds who have not been lucky enough.

india Updated: Jan 08, 2012 20:32 IST
Amitava Banerjee

Asha (name changed on request) was lucky enough to escape from the clutches of the family she was working as a domestic help in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, but there are hundreds who have not been lucky enough.

Asha’s grim tale exposes the stark reality that young girls from Darjeeling and neighboring areas are being recruited by spurious employment agencies and are being sent abroad using fake Nepalese passports. Owing to the fake passports; in case of emergencies these girls find it very difficult to return back to India.

Asha who had been missing since August 2011 had been traced to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She was rescued and brought back to India on December 21, 2011, with the Darjeeling Police, CID and the Ministry of Home Affairs taking up the case.

Asha stated that she had met a couple Mita Tamang and Chand Rai of Phuagari Tea Estate, Mirik through a friend Nikita from Panitanki on the Indo-Nepal border. The couple had offered her a job in Saudi Arabia for 800 Riyals a month (eleven thousand rupees approximately.) For a uneducated, unemployed tea garden girl from the economically weak strata, it was too lucrative an offer to resist.

20-year-old Asha hails from Salu Tea Estate, Marybong under the Jorebunglow Police Station, Darjeeling. Her husband is a taxi driver. “I did not tell my family members as I knew they would object to my plans. I left home and was flown to Delhi. In Delhi I was handed over a passport and flew to Riyadh” stated Asha.

Little did Asha know that the passport she was handed over was false Nepalese passport, (It bore her picture. The passport was of one Sova Biswakarma of Nepal. As Asha could not read she did not realise it.)

In Riyadh, Asha was kept in an office for some time, where she was threatened and beaten up also. Fromn there she was sent to a house as a domestic. “The house had 12 members and I had to do everything. I was beaten up, tortured nearly everyday. My passport was taken away. However after 2 months, I managed to escape and reached another household”, stated Asha.

In the second house though she was not tortured, the work was back breaking. The four storied house had 13 members. Asha had to do everything from cooking, cleaning to washing clothes, single handed. After a month Asha managed to escape and landed at the Nepal embassy. As she had no passport (passport taken away by the house owner) she even had to spend time at a Riyadh prison.

Back home Ajay Rai, Asha’s father had lodged an FIR at the Jorebunglow Police Station against Mita Tamang and Chand Rai. “On November 18, we arrested Tamang and Rai, booking them under Sections 363 (kidnapping) and 368 IPC ( wrongfully concealing or keeping in confinement kidnapped person.) The case is on and the duo are in judicial custody.” stated Sarita Pariyar, Circle Inspector, Darjeeling Sadar.

With the help of the CID, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Nepal Embassy in Riyadh, Asha was finally brought back home. She now lives with her family.

“I was told that Saudi Arabia is a beautiful place. They did not give me a single penny and each day was like a nightmare. No one should commit the mistake that I committed. I am lucky that I escaped. There are hundreds in the Nepal embassy who have faced torture and are awaiting a chance to return back. I even heard tales of death and forced suicide.” stated Asha. She now plans to complete a beauty parlour training and work near home.

As the Emigration Act of India clearly states that no recruitment agency is authorized to recruit any lady candidate for overseas recruitment; the spurious employment agencies are now targeting illiterate girls, recruiting them as domestics and sending them abroad using false Nepal passports ( the photographs are switched and the candidates are asked to memorize the name and address that features on the passport.)

“We have made sincere appeals that parents should inform the police before sending their children abroad through manpower agencies. It is our job to check the authenticity of the job and the credibility of the recruitment agencies. Despite repeated appeals not a single such information has been brought to our notice. Only after matters get out of hand, do they rush to the Police. As it usually involves foreign countries. investigations get complicated and time consuming at a mature stage and things become difficult.” stated the Circle Inspector.