Bruised, woman returns from Kuwait empty-handedA Nepali woman, who had left the country with a labour permit, has returned home from Kuwait after enduring two-and-a-half years of physical abuse at the hands of her employer.
A Nepali woman, who had left the country with a labour permit, has returned home from Kuwait after enduring two-and-a-half years of physical abuse at the hands of her employer.
The mother of three worked as a domestic help. She had attended a month-long language class and received training for other skills before leaving the country with a dream of earning enough for her children’s education. Her hope was shattered when she was beaten by her employer, a woman in her forties, on the very first day of job.
“She would beat me for no reason; I was thrashed many times a day. Often times, she would pour hot water onto my body,” recalled the 36-year-old victim, adding that she was paid no money.
She was not allowed to leave the house. She could rarely talk to her family members. “Once I made the mistake of sharing my miserable plight with my husband over the phone. My family contacted the agent and reported about the incident. Instead of helping me, the agent complained to my employer who abused me and threatened to kill me if I complained again,” said the victim.
The agent had promised her a monthly salary of 60 dinars but she got none. According to the victim, her employer had dropped her at the police station after making a deal to forgo all her earning.
She was allowed to return to Nepal only after the police established that she had a clean record in Kuwait. She spent around two months in prison in Kuwait while the police investigated the case. The migrant claims to have met several Nepali women who shared similar tales of brutal treatment from their employer and denial of pay there.
There are scars all over her face. Her lips are swollen, her upper lip also torn. Constant beating and long isolation have left her mentally disturbed.
She landed in Kathmandu last week with two other women who had run away from their workplace, unable to tolerate the exploitation any longer. The other two—comparatively younger and having suffered less physical abuse—are ready to return home.
But the victim from Makwanpur is undergoing medical treatment and taking shelter at Maiti Nepal, an organisation working against trafficking and to uphold women’s rights. The organisation, while helping her find the agent who duped her, is trying to get compensation from the government.
She had left home with legal documents but was forced to overstay by six months. The government provides compensation to the dead, seriously ill or injured migrants who left the country with a work permit.
The agent from Makwanpur had taken two other women together with the victim. The whereabouts of the two other are unknown.
Rights defenders claim that migrant workers will continue to face abuse in foreign lands until the government signs bilateral agreements with the labour-receiving countries. Uma Tamang, legal advisor at Maiti Nepal, asked the government to ensure standard contract, minimum wage and other rights of migrant workers.